Kapha comprises of the elements of earth and water and is characterized by the qualities of cold, heaviness, rigidity, and dullness. The practice of kapha balancing yoga with the appropriate asanas can help to pacify your dominant dosha, preventing symptoms of aggravation. The integration of yoga practice with an Ayurvedic lifestyle helps to free up your movements, support digestion, and soothe the nervous system. The regular practice of yoga asanas also has a positive influence on various bodily functions as it facilitates the elimination of bodily wastes and ama or toxins. At the same time, the meditative practices and pranayamas or breathing exercises that are part of yoga have a calming influence that helps build self-awareness.
Choosing The Right Asanas
To counter kapha’s cold and heavy influence, a kapha balancing yoga program should include asanas and a style of practice that is both heating and invigorating. Movements should therefore be of a higher intensity, posing a greater challenge. As kapha dosha is concentrated in the chest area, a kapha balancing yoga routine should include:
Asanas that expand or stretch the chest and pulmonary cavity
Circulation boosting asanas, especially for the chest
Headstands and standing asanas to pacify kapha
Pranayamas or breathing exercises and meditation to promote relaxation
A yoga routine for kapha types should involve smooth flowing movements, but at a faster pace to raise the intensity. This helps to minimize the influence of kapha, which can cause sluggishness.
The Best Asanas for Kapha Balance
Stretching asanas are recommended for all dosha types and should be included in any warm up routine. As a kapha type individual, however, there are certain poses that should be included in your routine. The video below provides you with information on the best yoga asanas for your prakriti.
In addition to the asanas included in the video, your routine can also include twelve fast paced cycles of the Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation), as well as asanas like Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand), Halasana (Plow pose), Salabhasana (Locust pose), Setu Bandhasana (Bridge pose), Mayurasana (Peacock pose), Tadasana (Palm Tree), and Simhasana (Lion pose). While headstands and handstands are ideal for kapha individuals, these asanas can be quite challenging, which makes it important for you to exercise caution. If you are a beginner, start by using props and variations of difficult asanas.
Don’t forget that the optimal amount of physical activity varies for every individual. Ayurvedic texts emphasize the importance of physical activity and exercise, but they also warn against over exertion. Yoga routines that are too strenuous will defeat the purpose, causing depletion of ojas, the substance that strengthens immunity. If you ever experience discomfort or pain when moving into or holding an asana, stop immediately. Yoga is meant for individuals of any fitness level, so if you aren’t ready for a particular asana, you can look for simpler variations of the same asana. Most importantly, consistency and discipline are absolutely essential. This is more important than the duration of your yoga sessions, so make it a point to practice yoga daily even if just for ten minutes!
Lad, Vasant. The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies. Three Rivers Press, 1999.
Tiwari, Maya. Love Your Body Type The Ayurveda Way. 1st ed., Mother Om Media, 2012.
Frawley, David, et al. Yoga for Your Type: An Ayurvedic Approach to Your Asana Practice. New Age Books, 2003.
Next: Kapha Balancing Herbs
Lifestyle changes are essential for your wellbeing, but dosha imbalances can still develop at times. In such situations, kapha balancing herbs can restore your optimal dosha balance.
The information on this page has been contributed by Nishtha Bijlani, RYT (500 Hrs, Yoga Alliance) and is intended for the sole use of Allayurveda. Information contained within this article may not be reproduced without the explicit permission of Allayurveda.