DOC49The Kapha Dosha The Dosha of Form, the Process of Lubrication and Anabolism

Towards the end of winter we find a shift in energies. We are moving from the Vata time of year into a new Kapha season. Kapha represents the anabolic process in the body, as well as the world around us, as opposed to the catabolic process of Vata. In the Vata season we see the leaves turning brown and falling to the ground, here in Kapha we see the earth swelling, the new buds forming, and new beginnings starting to form around us. Kapha is also the remedy and natural antidote for Vata’s dry, rough and airy nature. The elements for Vata are Air and Ether whereas Kapha is Earth and Water.


The qualities of Kapha are: Heavy, Slow/Dull, Cold, Oily, Liquid, Slimy/Smooth, Dense, Soft, Static, Sticky, Cloudy, and Hard Kapha is an essential part of everyone’s make-up. Kapha is principally a combination of the elements Earth and Water and is the energy that forms the body’s structure and provides the “glue” or cohesion that holds the cells together. Kapha has its main site in our body in the upper stomach and lungs. Kapha is the process of lubrication, 2/3 of our body is water or liquid for that lubrication.

The five forms of Kapha are:

Tarpaka Kapha, in the brain (white matter), myelin sheath, cerebro-spinal fluid. It is the form of water that gives contentment. It governs emotional calm, stability and happiness, as well as memory. The practice of Yoga also increases the mental form of Kapha as contentment and bliss (Ananda).

Bodhaka Kapha, in the mouth and oral cavity. It is the form of water that gives perception of taste. Found in the mouth and tongue as the saliva that allows us to taste our food, it is also a part of the first stage of digestion. It helps to lubricate the other sensory openings in the head.

Avalambaka Kapha, in the lungs, pleural cavity, heart, respiratory tract and spine. It is the water that gives support. It is the storehouse of phlegm and upon it depends the actions of the other Kaphas in the body. It is not simply the phlegm produced by the lungs, as that is an excess of Kapha generally. It corresponds to the basic plasma of the body, its primary watery constituent, which is distributed by lung and heart action.

Kledaka Kapha, in the stomach and gastro-intestinal tract. This kapha is the secretions of the mucous lining. It is responsible for the liquifaction of food and for the first stage of digestion.

Sleshaka Kapha, found in the joints. This is the form of kapha that gives lubrication. Located in the joints as the synovial fluid and is responsible for holding them together.


The Sanskrit word Kapha comes from two roots, ka meaning water and pha meaning to flourish; that which is flourished by water. Kapha’s nature is also Earth, so Water and Earth give Kapha its definitive qualities. Kapha comprises all our cells, tissues and organs. Kapha molecules tend to stick together to form dense masses and give the body a chubby shape. Lubrication of joints and organs, strong muscles and bones, cellular secretions, and memory retention are all part of Kapha’s function.

These qualities give a strong and large body frame, large eyes, strong teeth and thick, wavy hair to people of Kapha constitution.

Kapha people have a steady appetite and thirst, but tend to have slow digestion and metabolism.  These characteristics often result in weight gain, which Kapha people have a great difficulty shedding.

Kapha people are blessed with a deep, stable faith, with love and compassion, and a steady and calm mind. They have a good memory, a deep melodious voice.

An unbalanced Kapha suffers from greed, attachment, possessiveness, and laziness.

A healthy balanced Kapha is endowed with excellent strength, knowledge, peace, love and longevity due to a strong constitution.


Body Characteristics:  Strong, sturdy, potential to become over weight, good muscular development  

Personality:  Slow speaking, slow moving, consistent, and dedicated, good long term memory

Physical Challenges:  Prone to mucus congestion in the lungs and sinuses, asthma, has potential for water retention and diabetes DOC48

Emotional Challenges:  Over attachment, lethargy and depression

Gifts:  Fertile, compassionate, unconditional love, nurturing and devotion. Kapha’s make great caretakers and supports.


Balanced By:  Warm, dry, light and mobile qualities.


Time of Day:  6-10 am, & pm. Although it may be tempting, sleeping in can make your day feel more sluggish. The later you wake into the Kapha time the heavier you will feel.

Season: Late winter & early spring. Nature around us is swelling with water and building up toward a new season of growth, remember the microcosm/macrocosm theory here and you can counter any heavy stagnation.

Time of Life: 0-16 years old. Babies make mucus for a living, just think of those yummy chubby cheeks, and healthy rolly-polly babies and you have Kapha! There are huge markets selling us products to keep our skin soft, youthful, plump and Kapha-like!