10 Daily Routine Tips for Kapha
by Coen Van der Kroon
Morning is the spring of your day
Kapha is not only a ‘Dosha’ – it also refers to the energy of a time of the day, the season of a year, or a period of life. In all cases, we are talking about time periods that exhibit more of the properties of Kapha (heavy, stable, slow, downward, oily, and so on), and which represent the start or growth of something.
Kapha morning time is the spring of the day, it heralds new life, and old stable Kapha from the night melts and gives way to new liquid fuels for the new day. Just as spring heralds new life after having accumulated stable Kapha during winter, and melts into new life when the birds begin to sing again, as the announcers of this new life.
How can we help manage this morning time better, resulting in more happiness and energy?
First of all, get up during Vata time - 3 to 7 am! This time helps you to start moving, as Vata properties are mobile, light, upwards, and so on. Do not stay in bed to wait for Kapha time (7 - 11 am) to start as its properties of static, heavy, and downwards will not help you get up in an easy way as things might feel blocked, uneasy, and stagnant. This applies, especially, during the weekends when you may feel like going to bed later and staying in just a bit longer in the morning. Particularly if you’re experiencing a hangover, a feeling we know all too well.
And that brings us to the first ‘daily (morning) routine for Kapha dosha.’
The Top 10 Daily Routine Tips for Kapha
We can divide the 10 Daily Routine Tips for Kapha into:
- Kapha reducing morning routine tips
- Kapha supporting daily routine tips
Kapha-reducing morning routine tips
1. Get up during Vata time, i.e. before 7 o’clock, preferably
Make sure you use the properties of Vata to help you ‘get your butt moving’ and to facilitate eliminating old stagnant Kapha out of your system properly. When you stay in bed until way into Kapha morning time, this process is not supported (on the contrary).
2. Brush your teeth and scrape your tongue
After getting up, use your time to liquefy and remove old stagnant Kapha from the most important ‘start-of-your-digestion’ Kapha area of your digestive tract: your mouth and throat. Use Kapha burning and melting tooth-powder and brush your teeth with this (together with some high-quality toothpaste, or opt for an Ayurvedic toothpaste with those spice powders in them).
Remove old sticky, whitish night Kapha that has accumulated also in your mouth cavity and on the tongue, by using a good tongue scraper. It is an age-old tradition that is gaining popularity again, even with dentists, as it promotes better oral hygiene – read: a better fresh Kapha manager in your mouth!
3. No (long) head showers (short or avoid)
Especially if you are already vulnerable to colds, hay fever (hey, especially in spring, or Kapha time), a runny nose, or asthmatic tendencies. Take care to not add too much water-energy to your head as a bit of stagnant Kapha may still linger.
4. Use Nasya or Ayurvedic oil drops in the nose
The best oil for daily use is Anu Taila, an Ayurvedic nose oil that can help move old stagnant Kapha out of the nasal membranes, it activates Prana to awaken all the senses after a night’s sleep, and – as it is an oil – it also provides a good, new, and fresh Kapha foundation to the nasal membranes to manage and ground all that Prana movement in the nose.
5. Gargle/swoosh with warm water to melt things
After brushing your teeth with tooth-powder (melting spices) and taking Nasya oil (with melting ingredients), it is good to swoosh the mouth and gargle a bit with warm-hot water. This will heat the surrounding tissues in and around the oral cavity and even extend to the nasal and throat cavities, and help melt any remaining old and stuck stagnant night Kapha. Be free and make some noise to get it all loose and spit it out.
6. Get moving to create some heat
Moderate morning exercise can further help digest and move old Kapha out of your system, or to liquefy it in order to use it as fresh fuel for your new day. Do some moderate physical exercise, this can include active yoga asanas, as well as the more warming pranayamas, such as Kapalabati or Bhastrika (ask a teacher to properly instruct you first!)
- Vata types – Mild moderate exercise and moderate pranayama as mentioned just above, and be sure to not exhaust yourself.
- Pitta types – Moderate to medium exercise and pranayama, and be sure to not overheat yourself.
- Kapha types – Medium to intense exercise and pranayama, make sure you work out a bit extra.
Kapha-supporting daily routine tips
7. Eat a good and appropriate breakfast
Have a good and light breakfast with fresh food, and ‘break-your-fast’ only when you feel there is enough digestive fire to take in new Kapha nutrition – otherwise, it will not be able to digest and will only create heaviness again. Choose foods that are high-quality, not too-heavy with Kapha, and that have a sweet-neutral taste – possibly warm (think of porridges, for example). Add some nice nourishing and warming spices.
Everyone needs good new Kapha for the day, but:
- Vata types need more – however, they need to make sure that their Agni is working well to digest it.
- Pitta types (might) need quite a bit more – in case their Agni is burning strong, otherwise also have a medium breakfast.
- Kapha types need less – their own Kapha is part of their breakfast and sometimes it would even be better to skip breakfast altogether, as a temporary ‘wise’ intervention.
8. Take appropriate massage and skin treatment
Our skin also needs to ‘eat’: good and renewing oils and skin products can help with that. Do not give your skin old, rancid, and stagnant food to eat. Make sure you use high-quality oils and skin products. Oleation (Snehana) is a guarantee for good Kapha wealth in your life – substantially as well as emotionally – according to classical Ayurveda texts.
In addition, take constitution into account:
- Vata types need more oil – oil has all the qualities counter to Vata qualities.
- Pitta types (might) need medium – they have a bit of oiliness in their property-box already (Pitta is ‘slightly-oily’), and the oils need to be more cooling.
- Kapha types need less – they have already plenty of ‘oiliness’ in their own nature; sometimes massaging with drying powders is a better alternative here.
Note: External oleation is contraindicated when there is high and disbalanced Kapha in any of the above three types! So when you have a cold or similar: do NOT go for an oil massage until Kapha is in balance again.
9. Create good substance in your life
Use your innate Kapha (which we all have as a manager) to actively create ‘good, sustainable substance’ in your life. This can be in the forms of money, children, home, projects, gardening, and so on. Just make sure that – whatever it is – you build it with a refreshing, juicy, and sustainable sweetness. As your own unique contribution to life in this universe – that is the real core meaning of the word Dharma: to contribute positively to (sustainable) life – in the broadest possible sense. And that is also the essence of good Kapha!
10. Start the day with some mental/emotional good sweetness
Make sure you start your days with fresh and new devotion, compassion, and love. This will nourish the world around you, but it will also revitalise and nourish your own tissues and body cells - which are the living and fresh Kapha substance that you are living your life with.
Good Kapha and its subtle counterpart Ojas will help create good immunity, both physically and energetically, and even spiritually. Enjoy it and celebrate it!
Coen van der Kroon was born in Utrecht, The Netherlands in 1962. He has an academic background in Greek and Latin Languages and Culture. His MA thesis was on ancient Greek gynecology with a comparison between Hippocratic and Ayurvedic Medicine. This was the start of his interest in and study of ayurveda.