Ask A Practitioner: How Can I Balance High Kapha?

Join every week for a Q&A session with one of Basmati’s practitioners, Melissa Hill (FDN-P)! We know that there is a lot of confusing information out there, which can make applying health advice overwhelming. Sometimes, it’s best to ask a practitioner directly, so each week we’ll cover a common health question!
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Q. I have high Kapha. What can I do to bring it into balance?
A. If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of particular doshas being too high, aggravated, or out of balance, you can begin to bring them back into balance by applying the opposite qualities. This can come in the form of food choices, herbs, lifestyle adjustments, or therapeutic treatments. If a particular dosha is disturbed for too long, it will affect the health of the dhatus (tissue layers of the body). Take steps toward proper diet, exercise, and lifestyle to bring doshas back into balance before disease sets into the body.
Because each particular dosha is the product of the elements in nature, it is helpful to recognize which elements are showing up in you and how they are manifesting and expressing in you personally.
Kapha is made up of the earth and water elements. It has the qualities of being cold, moist, stable, and heavy. These qualities can affect the functioning of our mind and body. Kapha lubricates our bodies and joints, but also creates mucus and congestion. The cold and moisture during late winter into spring season has the tendency to increase these kapha qualities as well, especially in those with the kapha predisposition, or prakriti. Consuming food and drink with those qualities can also increase the kapha dosha of someone. Once you understand the nature of your imbalance, it is easier to bring yourself back to balance by use of the opposite qualities, whether in the form of food, drink, herbs, lifestyle modifications, or therapeutic treatments.
When Kapha is out of balance/aggravated, it can show up as lethargy, weight gain, sinus congestion, being stiff and slow moving in the morning, depression, and diabetes.
Balancing Kapha
To balance high kapha, you want to lighten up and get things moving. This can be approached by getting moving early in the day with exercise or pranayama breathing. Making vigorous physical activity a part of your daily routine can be very helpful.
Keep yourself warm and dry and avoid damp, cold environments. Try not to resist change and give new things, experiences, or ideas a try. Change up your daily routine to keep yourself from getting stuck in a rut, physically or emotionally.
Minimize your consumption of fats and fried foods. Avoid excess sweets, wheat, and dairy. Instead, choose foods that are warm, light, and dry. Try warm grains like millet, barley, rye, oats, or quinoa along with lots of veggies and some low-fat protein. Add a generous amount of spices to your meals like cayenne, black pepper, hot peppers, or ginger to increase your circulation and stimulation.
If you are already doing these things, and your imbalance hasn’t resolved, you can look deeper into reasons behind kapha getting out of balance in your body in the first place. For any dosha to get aggravated, there had to first be an accumulation of toxins in your system that built up then dispersed into what you are now experiencing as your symptoms. Working to reduce the overall toxic load on your body can be beneficial. There are many ways to facilitate detox of your body and with specific foods, herbs, modalities, and panchakarma with the help of a practitioner.
It is equally important to detox your mind, mentally and emotionally releasing stored or repressed emotions related to the doshic expression at the root of your imbalance. Kapha is associated with greed and attachment. Taking time to acknowledge and release those stored emotions, allowing them to dissipate, is vital for healing. Doing a clean out day of your house and personal space to get rid of old clutter can help facilitate the process. Accordingly, lightening up your attitude and letting go of old beliefs and attachments can be very healing.