Ayurveda is an ancient form of holistic medicine; it has been around for more than 5000 years and originated in India. Ayurveda means science of life; or when broken down ayu- means daily living and -veda means knowing. The ancient teaching of Ayurveda says that consciousness is energy that is manifested into five basic elements: Ether, Air, Fire, Wind, Water and Earth.
The idea of Ayurveda breaks the year into three doshas (Vata, Kapha and Pitta). Each dosha corresponds to a season of the year, season of your life and a time of day. Kapha corresponds with the end of winter and beginning of spring, the end of one thing and the beginning of another. Kapha body types run cold and wet, which is in line with the end of winter. They enjoy going into spring, as it helps to balance out internal temperature and temperament. Kapha is also associated with the morning (when we rise) and right before bed each day. It is simultaneously the beginning and the end of the day, and seasonally links these two seemingly contrasting seasons. Kapha is the baby in the season of life and is about renewal and growth.
In Ayurveda, it is believed that each person has a dosha (energy) that governs their body. Finding your dosha is very easy, there are several online tests that will let you know. We use Dr. Light and Bryan Miller's book Ayurveda & Aromatherapy: The Earth Essential Guide to Ancient Wisdom and Modern Healing as a guide. It is not uncommon for someone to have one of the dosha be their dominant dosha and then also have a few characteristics from the other two.
What Is the Kapha Body Type?
My (Abby's) dominant dosha is also Kapha, which relates to the elements water and earth. Kapha body types are on the heavier side, as they tend to carry more weight. They struggle to lose weight without discipline and sweat easily. They have large chests and thick skin. Their complexions are on the paler side, with oily skin; hair is dark, wavy and thick. They have big, enticing eyes that are usually blue or dark brown with the whites of their eyes being bright. They have deep long sleeps and like to nap. Their temperament can be calm and lethargic, with little self-motivation.
How to Utilize This Season as Motivation
As such, we want to take this time to start being more active.
This could be doing something as simple as adding a 20-minute walk into your day, since the weather is getting nicer and the sun is out later. Another great way to slowly incorporate more activity would be taking up yoga. Since Kapha’s tend to lack motivation, it isn’t beneficial to try and jump into anything too active, as this may lead to demotivation.
The Kapha season is all about slow and steady growth. Spring in itself is a testament to this - snow banks slowly melt away, the sun slowly begins to stretch out the day, and flower bulbs begin to peek out from under leaves. Adding a few small changes to your daily habit will continue to improve and grow overtime. Kapha energy has a tendency to not want to do things with haste and prefer to slow things down. The Kapha season is the end of winter and beginning of spring. Much like a person with a Kapha body type should alter their diet to consuming mostly Kapha-pacifying foods, during Kapha season, we all should do the same. No matter what your dosha type is, you will be influenced by Kapha energy at this time of year.
|Foods to Incorporate||Foods to Transition Away From|
Kapha is balanced by a diet of freshly cooked, whole foods that are light, dry, warming, well-spiced, and relatively easy to digest—ideally served warm or hot. These foods calm Kapha by balancing mucous production, regulating moisture levels, maintaining adequate heat, and by supporting proper digestion and elimination. Keeping foods light, airy and warm will balance out the presence of Kapha. We should also avoid sweets, besides raw honey and some other sugars that are naturally in foods, because sweets will aggravate the Kapha energy. Leafy, green vegetables are best for the Kapha diet, but non-sweet veggies are good as well, especially when fresh. Beans are great for the Kapha diet, except for chickpeas. In general, we want to incorporate as many pungent, bitter and astringent flavors and food as possible to balance Kapha.
|Pungent Foods||Bitter Foods||Astringent Foods|
Pungent foods stimulates digestion, liquefies secretions, clears the channels of the body, encourages sweating, and thins the blood. Bitter foods and flavors cleanse the pallet and improve the sense of taste. They tone the skin and muscles, improve appetite, support digestion, and help to absorb moisture, lymph, muscle fat, adipose tissue, and sweat. Kapha benefits from astringent foods because of the compressing, absorbing, nature of it, which also helps to tone bodily tissues and utilize excess fluid. In the same way that a lot of us do a good “spring cleaning” of our homes, we should also be doing a “spring cleaning” of our bodies. Embracing fresh, light and raw foods helps to detox our systems.
Black Bean Chicken Tacos: A Kapha Balancing Meal
Now is the perfect time for tacos! Here is a simple black bean and chicken taco you can enjoy. Any excuse for tacos, right?
Prepare cilantro, pepper, and lime. Drain black beans and rinse. Combine yogurt and half the cilantro (reserve remaining for garnish) in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
Optional. Cook chicken breast if using. Place into saucepan and cover with water. Bring to boil, reduce and simmer for 10 minutes / internal temp is 165°F. Remove the chicken to a cutting board and shred it using two forks. Whisk together ghee, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Combine shredded chicken and seasonings and simmer chicken and sauce until warm.
Heat a sauce pan over medium heat. Once pan is hot add 2 teaspoons of ghee. Add onions and sauté. When onions are sautéd, add corn and pepper to hot pan and stir occasionally until lightly browned, 3-5 minutes.
Add black beans and add seasonings if not including chicken. Stir occasionally until corn is charred and beans are warmed. Remove from burner.
Wrap tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave, 30 seconds.
Assemble tacos as desired. Squeeze lime wedges over tacos to taste. Thinly slice radishes and enjoy along side tacos.
Embracing the energy of the Ayurvedic season that we are in is essential to maintaining balance. Very soon the sun will be rising and setting later, that is Mother Earth’s way of telling us to go to sleep later (between 10 pm and midnight) and wake with the sun. We should try to be outside when it is sunny and get as much Vitamin D as possible from the sun. While Kapha types may want to sleep a lot, they really only need 6-7 hours of sleep a night and a desire for more means there’s a Kapha imbalance. Offsetting this imbalance is important to be able to connect to the natural energies around you and embrace the season you are in, rather than fighting it. If you alter your diet and sleep schedules according to the Ayurvedic season you are in, your active energy will come more naturally.
To recap, Kapha energy has a tendency to:
- not do things with haste
- need additional discipline
- enjoy being sedentary
Since this is the season of Kapha, we are all inclined to feel this way. It is important to be aware of these changes in nature as a cue for guiding our overall well being. As an esthetician and Bellini’s employee, knowing about Ayurveda is beneficial for a number of reasons. Each dosha has a different preference when it comes to pressure of touch, scents they like and energy they feed off. It also helps us to determine how we can work with you and your skin to make your facial experience and skincare journey the best that it can be. Book a facial at Bellini's to understand more about your specific dosha in relation to skincare!
This post was written by Aesthetician, Abby Durey
Ayurveda & Aromatherapy: The Earth Essential Guide to Ancient Wisdom and Modern Healing, By Dr. Light Miller, ND and Dr. Bryan Miller, DC