Kapha dosha is the mind-body constitution that is made up of the two elements earth and water. People who have a dominant kapha dosha tend to be passive, peaceful, calm, and consistent. They can also be lethargic and stubborn. They are deliberate in their actions and are very loving.
Physically, kapha dosha types tend to be of larger build and may be overweight or have difficulty losing weight. They have big, beautiful features and voluptuous bodies. Of all three doshas, kaphas are most likely to suffer conditions that involve congestion, mucus, and swelling. Kapha types tend to crave sweet foods and can easily overeat. Emotionally, they tend toward depression.
When kapha is in excess, a person will feel depressed and possessive. They will be stubborn and can develop greediness. Sinus infections, colds, chest congestion, asthma, and cysts are common when kaphas are out of balance. They will also have difficulty finding motivation.
There are a number of practices that can help to balance kapha. A yoga practice that helps cultivate joy is best for kaphas, who are challenged to commit to a regular practice. Particular focus on the end of each asana, or posture, will be helpful. Maintaining the integrity of the pose from beginning to end helps kaphas feel more accomplished in the practice. Maintaining a mindset of devotion, or Bhakti, will help keep kaphas coming back to the mat.
An excellent mantra for kapha types is: Asato ma sadgamaya; Tamaso ma jyotirgamaya; Mrtyorma amrtam gamaya (Lead me from untruth to truth; Lead me from darkness to light; Lead me from death to immortality). Repeating this mantra during meditation is a healing practice for kapha imbalance.
When it comes to diet, balancing kapha dosha involves eating foods that are bitter and astringent while reducing sweet, salty, and sour foods. Reducing mucus-generating foods, such as dairy and wheat is best. Also, reduction of sweet, heavy fruits and salt is recommended. Increasing consumption of lighter grains, green leafy vegetables, berries, as well as basil, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves (chai tea!), cumin, and ginger will be helpful. Kaphas are the one dosha group that can best tolerate moderate amounts of coffee and alcohol.
Whether your dosha is kapha dominant or kapha-pitta dominant, many of the practices that help to balance kapha will be helpful to you at some point. By noticing your own tendencies, you will be better able to do what you can to balance your doshas when you find an imbalance. You will likely find that you understand yourself more because of this practice.