By Amruta Kulkarni, CYT 500
Ayurveda is an ancient Indian system of health and healing that developed in Indian five thousand years ago. It is known as the sister science to Yoga. One of the primary underpinnings of Ayurvedic medicines is the differentiation of the three primary doshas or qualities in an individual. Generally speaking, most of us are a combination of Pitta, Vata and Kapha doshas. Usually a Yogi or Yogini is a combination of two doshas with one dosha being more predominant. One of the main goals of Ayurvedic medicine is to keep the doshas balanced. Ayurvedic practitioners believe that disease develops when a person’s dosha is out of balance. The primary dosha or combination of doshas is balanced through a healthy lifestyle including a nourishing diet, plenty of exercise, a strong daily rhythmn of activities and medicinal herbs when necessary.
Individuals with a predominantly kapha dosha are firm, solid, tend to be chubby, calm, peaceful and enjoy structure. The kapha quality is said to comprise the very structure of our bodies including the bones, tissues and organs. Yoga practitioners with a strong kapha dosha that is balanced are very calm and steady, kind and compassionate. They are also very loyal and generous. When the kapha dosha is out of balance, an individual may feel sluggish, depressed, uninspired and unmotivated. An unbalanced kapha dosha may also result in laziness and over-possessiveness of other people and possessions.
In order to keep a kapha dosha Yogi or Yogini balanced, a specific dietary regime is recommended. Light, dry foods are advised for kaphas. Oily, fried, sweet and heavy foods are discouraged because it is believed that these types of food add to the potential sluggishness of the kapha dosha individual. Eating dry foods that are prepared with very little oil or butter is recommended all year long. Eating raw fruits and vegetables is also recommended as is astringent, bitter and spicy foods. Ayurvedic practitioners also advise kaphas to not overeat and eat hot food whenever possible.
Kaphas tend to get aggravated and out-of-balance during the winter and early spring when the weather is cold, cloudy, heavy and wet. Kapha dosha individuals can also be thrown off balance during the full moon as the water in our bodies responds to its gravitational pull. Ayuvedic doctors recommend a diet rich in fiber, spice and dry heat during the fall, winter and early spring months to keep the kapha dosha balanced. The spices may be taken in a tea such as lemon ginger tea with a pinch of freshly-grated ginger. Recommended spices are cumin, turmeric, curry, fenugreek, jalapeno peppers and other Mexican spices. The spices can be incorporated into hot soups, stews and grilled or baked entrees. These spicy dishes will invigorate and balance the Kapha dosha during the dark, cold winter months.
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