Most of us today have heard the term Ayurveda and may even know a little (or a lot) about its foundations and/or history. As one of the longest standing forms of medicine practiced on earth, we hope that many will benefit from more knowledge regarding Ayurveda and the techniques which aim to be the “science of life.”
Ayurveda is something that we are passionate about here at Sanandi, we include the core principles of Ayurveda in conjunction with other various forms of healing and medicine as a basis behind all that we do. We hope to help educate and pass this information along amongst our friends, family, and all the knowledge seekers who yearn to learn more about Ayurveda. Over the next few weeks, we will highlight each of the major parts of Ayurveda to create a 4-part series of posts which provide value and serve as a resource to all those who seek to learn more.
It’s important to touch on the basics of Ayurveda before we cover more ground. Ayurveda encompasses an ideology that the mind, body, and consciousness are connected to maintain overall harmony of one’s being. This is a vastly different approach than the concepts behind western medicine.
Let’s first look at the five elements in Ayurveda, which all things are considered to be derived from:
These 5 elements can then be condensed into 3 principles of Ayurveda, the three doshas:
Each of the doshas are unique in their characteristics and qualities, essentially comprising all the elements of an individual’s constitution. These doshas are sometimes referred to as biological energies that reside within us all. Each person is unique in their baseline make-up of these 3 doshas. Most of us will identify with all three doshas, however there is always one dosha (or maybe 2) that remains dominate within oneself.
As we previously mentioned, you may realize that when reading this it makes a lot of sense… Yet at first when you go back to recall what you’ve learned, it will start to feel like they all mix together. Don’t worry, it’s just a part of the learning process. To hopefully help shorten any learning curve, we decided to approach this by focusing on one dosha at a time… In this post we will focus on Kapha.
Kapha is considered to be the heaviest of the three doshas. It is represented by the elements of Earth and Water. To help visualize the characteristics of Kapha, we can use the elephant as an metaphor… And Oh, How We Love Elephants 😊
Just in case you’re not into Elephants as much as we are… We can also look at what happens when you combine water and earth, you get mud! Most ancient homes and buildings were built from mud, reemphasizing the strength of this combination.
A kapha dominant personality will consist of the following traits:
- A wise individual with a long memory, learning at a slower pace but retaining at a deep level.
- Someone who is a stronger build, heavy, bigger body framed, larger muscles, thicker hair.
- Someone who is even tempered, loyal, calm, patient, loving but operates at a slow pace.
- Someone who is compassionate, empathetic, forgiving, merciful, and supportive.
Most of us are familiar with the quote “Good Things Take Time,” well Kaphas embody that. In modern western society, we don’t truly appreciate the Kapha dominant personality, and this is very unfortunate. From a body type perspective, “skinny” is preferred according to all the marketing and television ads. In school, the curriculum seems to favor fast learners who can recite answers for an exam over those who take longer to learn and absorb information but who retain and possess that information for a lifetime… Our wisdom keeping kaphas.
When a kapha is out of balance, a host of traits tend to emerge, but none more prevalent than lethargy and the lack of movement. This can be a very unhealthy combination for a kapha dominant individual, as most notably this can lead to depression and inflammation within the physical body.
Water is recognized for its ability to be free flowing. Since kapha is deeply connected with earth and water, a key component of kapha is movement. The stress and heaviness inhibit the ability of the kapha to move, which is a direct reflection of the imbalance.
So how would we restore balance to kapha? Get moving! Get up and just go! Feeling lazy, go for a walk in the woods or on the beach and watch how much better you feel. Go socialize with some friends or go seek some new experiences. Hit the gym, do some yoga, or maybe just walk around the block! Do whatever it is that makes you happy—as long as it involves movement.
Additionally, we need to address the dietary components to restoring the balance to kapha. Typically kaphas crave sweet things and dairy products when they are out of balance—these exacerbate the heaviness that kapha is prone to. So when we see an imbalance present or forming, we immediately suggest reducing or eliminating the consumption of these foods.
Focus on consuming light and freshly cooked foods with heating spices (ginger, cayenne, chili, etc) with a diet high in veggies, bitters and foods with astringent tastes (apples, pears, legumes, pomegranates, etc.) while refraining from cold drinks and alcohol.
These are just a few tips but the most important step is to acknowledge and then take action. At the end of the day, we all need to make our personal wellbeing a priority. The better you feel, the better you can make the people around you feel!
Ayurveda surrounds a very simple concept that encompasses a vast amount of information. We hope that you gained a sliver of insight into this beautifully developed “science of life.” This is just the beginning of our adventure into the principles of Ayurveda, and we hope all you Kaphas appreciated the attention and insight into your inner workings.
There is beauty in every quality and characteristic of each dosha. We as a society need to start learning to be more accepting and fond of the differences between each of us… With the hope that one day we will all start to appreciate and respect those that are different, because if everyone was the same… How boring would this magnificent place called Earth be?