Kapha is a combination of the Earth and Water elements and shares the same qualities with the winter months, being cold, wet, heavy, and stable.
Kapha is referred to as "that which lubricates," which binds the body's structure, lubricates the joints and skin, and promotes tissue building, immunity, and healing. Its heaviness also provides stability, stamina, and strength. Kapha tends to have a slower metabolism, with a heavy and sturdy body, large, soft eyes, and thick, oily hair and skin. When in balance, they are calm, devoted, consistent, tolerant, and patient. However, when out of balance, they are prone to sluggishness, lethargy, procrastination, weight gain, excessive sleep, and problems letting go.
Each of the doshas has a "seat" or location of the body. For Kapha, this is in the mouth, lungs, and lower stomach where salvia and mucous is produced. Because of this nature, they need warmth, dryness, lightness, and movement.
When designing a yoga, pranayama, and meditation practice, the keywords include; light, vigorous, rhythmic, endurance, stimulating, challenging, assertive, and warming.
The Kapha yoga practice should focus on the upper chest and mid-section, bringing more movement and the air element. Repeating poses 2-3 times and incorporating Ujjayi breath will bring more heat and stamina. If you have a jumping practice between poses, this is also very beneficial.
Standing poses are beneficial when arms are raised. Lift energy up from the pelvic floor and open the chest.
Back Bends are vital because of the strong opening to the chest. Asanas with contraction of the thyroid are beneficial for sluggishness.
Forward bends (especially standing) bring heat to chest-torso, which offset cold and damp qualities.
Inversions stimulate the lymphatic system and benefit overall circulation, and which brings lightness.
Kapha’s need to open your lungs and can benefit from vigorous breathing practices, including Ujjayi breath. Bhastrika, Kapalabhati, and right-nostril breathing are cleansing, energizing, and warming.
Kapha likes to sit, so meditation is sometimes not a struggle here, but sitting can bring dullness and heaviness to the mind. A structured mediation is recommended, and Trataka (ghee lamp gazing) and walking meditation are recommended.