By Shannon Chada –
Just as a yoga practice is unique to each individual, so is the art of being in-tune with our doshas. We are all different in mind and body, and our yoga practice should be a unique devotion to our overall wellness. Using supportive asanas, pranayama, nutritional choices, herbs, spices and essential oils specific to your dosha is an important aspect of your yoga practice.
In this article, we visit qualities of Kapha dosha, which governs the structure and stability of the body, lubrication of the joints and skin, along with tissue building that provides stamina, stability, and strength. Kapha is primarily located in the chest, throat, head, pancreas, stomach, fat, nose and tongue. The grounded Kapha supplies nutrition, creates bodily tissues and holds bones and muscles together. Ruled by elements earth and water, Kapha can be unconditionally loving, calm and devoted. When out of balance, Kapha yogis are physically prone to upper respiratory illnesses, obesity, along with tendencies of procrastination, stubbornness and over-attachment.
Examples of emotional and physical Kapha overflow are depression, possessiveness, excess mucous production, weight gain, nasal/throat/chest congestion, lethargy, swelling, nausea, diabetes, sluggish digestion and high cholesterol.
To balance Kapha dominance, eat smaller amounts of food and emphasize food that is light and dry. Look for foods with pungent, bitter or astringent tastes, along with foods that are hot or sharp. Examples include: puffed cereals, such as puffed rice or corn; astringent grains such as millet or quinoa; bitter vegetables such as leafy greens. Spices like ginger, turmeric and chili are generally good for Kapha people.
Kapha would want to steer away from foods such as dairy products, wheat, avocados, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, tofu, kidney beans, sweet, sour, salty, heavy, oily and cold foods such as ice cream, and deep-fried foods, as these types of foods will increase Kapha in the body.
To help balance Kapha dosha in your Yoga Practice:
- Kapha will benefit from practicing at warm temperatures and at a more vigorous pace, such as vinyasa, and utilizing Ujjayi breath techniques. It is good for Kapha to challenge oneself and to keep moving allowing short rest periods between poses. Being engaged with entire body paying attention to alignment.
- To help balance Kapha, choose asanas that focus on the upper half of the stomach and the chest. Back bends that extend the chest, such as setu bandhasana (bridge pose), bhujangasana (cobra pose) and rajakapotasana (the dove pose), are asanas that will have this effect. Chair pose, rebirth warrior, along with side planks help to open and expand the breath.
- Essential Oils to support Kapha: Choose warm, spicy, and stimulating aromas such as clove, basil, black pepper, cinnamon, ginger, juniper, orange, oregano, myrtle, thyme, eucalyptus and marjoram.
If you are looking to take your yoga wellness journey deeper and are interested in working with an Ayrevedic Professional, I highly recommend Karla Cain of Sattvic Sage, www.sattvicsage.com.
Shannon Chada is a Spiritual Holistic Practitioner of Full Circle Harmony Ministry. She has15+ years experience as an Essential Oil Educator, Reiki Master Teacher and Certified Yoga Instructor, www.FullCircleHarmony.org.