Have you been feeling stuck lately? When you wake up in the morning, do you just want to stay curled up under the covers? These could be the signs of an imbalance of the Kapha dosha. Although Kapha is known as the protector, when out of balance, it inhibits too much excess in our lives, slowing us down and making us feel unmotivated.
As we transition to colder weather, many of us may feel the Kapha-oriented impulse to hunker down and let the heavier qualities in our daily lives keep us stagnant. This can look like struggling to wake up in the morning, neglecting our exercise routine and/or losing productivity in our work. If any of these symptoms of Kapha imbalance resonate with you, get to know my easy tips to bring yourself back into balance.
Ayurveda Dosha Refresher
Before diving into my Kapha balancing tips and tricks, let's briefly review the science of Ayurveda and the doshas. According to Ayurvedic thought, doshas are organizing principles that make up our bodies (anatomy), the way we function (physiology) and how we think (psychology). These doshas are driven by the Ayurvedic gunas, or qualities. When they fall out of balance they create dis-ease (pathology). These principles began in India 3,500 years ago and remain relevant and useful throughout the world today.
A Little More About Ayurveda Kapha...
If your Prakruti, or Ayurvedic constitution, is ruled by the Kapha Dosha, you will more powerfully experience the following qualities: oily, cool (not cold), heavy, slow, dull, smooth , soft, and stable. Additionally, the doshas affect the following times of year, life phases, times of day and different parts of our bodies:
Season: Spring (damp, cool & heavy)
Bodies: Stomach lungs
Functions: Structure, cohesion, lubrication
Life Phase: Early Years, conception to age 30
Time of Day: 6am-10am, 6pm-10pm
Kapha is ruled by water and earth. The qualities of these elements will greatly contribute to your daily life if you identify with the Kapha dosha.
How Kapha Becomes Imbalanced
There are a number of day-to-day actions that can aggravate or exacerbate Kapha. These diet, exercise and lifestyle choices create Kapha Imbalance:
Diet: Eating heavy, dense, thick, oily, sticky and cold foods
Lifestyle Choices: Getting stuck in routines even if they do not serve you (e.g. waking up late)
Exercise: Staying sedentary and not engaging in enough physical activity
Keep in mind that if you live in a cool or wet climate or have entered a Kapha time of life, you may be more susceptible to Kapha imbalance.
Symptoms of Kapha Imbalance
If you've been feeling off, take a moment to reflect on your symptoms. If many of the signs of Kapha imbalance resonate with you, then you may need to make some lifestyle adjustments to bring yourself back into balance. These are some tell tale signs of imbalance for the Kapha Dosha:
The symptoms of a cold (i.e. cough, congestion, post nasal drip)
A heavy feeling in stomach
Lack of appetite
Water retention, swelling and puffiness
Lethargy, depression, lack of motivation
Attachment, greed, hoarding
Finding Balance with Ayurveda Kapha
In order to address imbalance within any of the doshas, we should always start by making small but meaningful changes to our day-to-day choices. If you've been feeling stuck, foggy or unmotivated I suggest leaning into more Vata and Pitta qualities to jump start your drive.
Boost Your Day from the Start
Often times we feel the heavier qualities of Kapha when we wake up in the morning. To avoid sluggish feelings, try to wake up during the Vata time of day before the sun rises. If you need something to give you an immediate boost of energy in the morning try dry brushing or a rhythmic mustard or sesame seed oil self-massage. Additionally, Kaphas can get a way with drinking a small cup of black coffee for an extra burst of energy.
Incorporate movement (a Vata quality) into your daily routine in the form of a morning workout or mid-day half hour walk. We want to get your heart pumping and your blood flowing to balance the heavy, grounded qualities of Kapha. If you're able to get to a gym in the morning, be sure to spend some time in the sauna as its warming and dry qualities soothe Kapha's wet and cool characteristics.
Check out these invigorating movement and breathing activities to stimulate your senses:
Intermediate to vigorous yoga (heating and circulating; vinyasa, twists, arm balances)
Stimulating breath practices (kapalabhati, bhastrika, agni sara)
Walking, hiking, dancing and jogging
Embrace Vata and Pitta Foods
One of the main contributing factors of an excess of Kapha is the food we eat. When we consistently consume heavy and sweet foods, we may aggravate the Kapha dosha.
If your are experiencing Kapha imbalance I suggest eating foods that embody Vata and Pitta qualities. Dry foods like beans, oats, barley and quinoa will soak up excess moisture. Light foods like grilled vegetables and even popcorn will ease any stomach issues. Lastly, try adding warming spices like pepper, ginger and turmeric to your cooking to balance the cold quality of Kapha.
A New Chapter for Your Mind, Body and Spirit
Feelings of lethargy or sluggishness are tough to kick. You want to help yourself but you have no motivation to move, let alone change your life. Here's the thing - the feelings in your body might be one story that you’re living but they are not the whole book. Think of an unpleasant moment as just a page in the book of your life. Making small but meaningful changes will help you turn the page and gracefully close that chapter.
If you are interested in learning more about these techniques and want to book your first Ayurvedic Health Consultation session, use the code NEWYOUNOVEMBER between now and November 30th, 2020 for $30 off. Now is the time to make positive, exciting life changes! And if you're curious to learn more about how Ayurveda can improve your health, schedule your free breakthrough session and we can create a personalized plan for wellness together.