Kapha winter wellbeing guide
Everyone has a combination of all three constitutional dosha, but one of them is usually primary, one secondary and the third less prominent. Thus each person has a particular pattern of physical characteristics that make up their individual constitution known as ‘prakriti’. If you look at any current imbalances in your health, known as ‘vikriti’, you can help to correct this imbalance by choosing the correct food, herbs or yoga posture for you.
The kapha dosha is dominated by the elements of earth and water. The key seasons at which a kapha is most at risk are the cooler, wetter months during winter and early spring. After the hotter summer months, a kapha often feels more revived and rejuvenated as the hot heat has helped melt away excess moisture and damp that may have accumulated over the winter and spring.
Autumn is cooling and drying, the cool dry air can actually help keep a kapha less congested. The risk of being tipped out of balance can occur towards the end of the autumn months, during the onset of winter, so it’s important to keep the cold out throughout the autumn.
A balanced kapha gives a person strength of mind, solidity, protection and endurance. They are very robust and strong individuals both physically and mentally. If we allow kapha to become out of balance in late autumn then we will start to see signs of excess. When kapha builds to excess in the body, it can lead to a wet cough, stagnation, congestion, growths, sluggish digestion, slow bowels and an excessive desire to sleep.
In order to balance kapha, we need to balance kapha’s heavy, dense qualities by increasing movement and stimulating the system to keep the hot heat of summer flowing for as long as possible and to prepare for the cold damp of winter. The kapha diet is all about reducing congestion and fluid build-up. This diet is most beneficial towards the end of autumn and throughout the winter months.
Top tips for those with a dominant kapha dosha
Eat only when hungry, allow the body plenty of time to properly digest its food
Emphasise foods that are light, dry or warming to stimulate movement and heat
Favour foods that are spicy, bitter or astringent to power through sticky congestion
Reduce foods that are heavy, oily, cold, sweet, salty and sour. These are considered to be energetically ‘cooling’ for the body
Avoids stimulants, dairy and highly fatty or processed foods
Kapha will benefit from more stimulating exercise that gets the blood flowing. Yoga postures that are more stimulating and invigorating such as the sun salutations and cat pose can be especially helpful
Herbs that help to reduce kapha include those that are considered slightly more stimulating and heating. Try turmeric or ginger supplements to revive the digestion and keep cold and damp accumulations at bay. Partner these with warming, reviving teas Three Ginger, Wild apple and cinnamon and Ginseng Matcha Green.
Don't know your dosha? Take our dosha to find out.
Author: Jo Webber
Head of Herbal Education
As a B.Sc. qualified Ayurvedic practitioner and yoga teacher, Jo is passionate about bringing these two ancient sciences together to help people feel empowered about their health. Jo has put her post-graduate certificate in education to good use, co-founding the Ayurveda academy to help others learn of the wonders of Ayurveda. Jo has also earned a Masters degree in human sciences from Oxford University and has taught in several schools
B.Sc. qualified Ayurvedic practitioner and yoga teacher
Years of experience:
20 years as a Hatha yoga teacher/ayurvedic practitioner
Member of the Ayurvedic Practitioners Association