Ayurveda and Yoga Therapy. To be friends with Kapha.
If you ask an average yogi or anyone who is familiar with Ayurveda, what is Kapha, then most of them will immediately answer – it is Fat. On the one hand, it is true. Body’s Kapha Dosha handles the accumulation and maintenance of the fat part. But not only so.
If you ask, if the Kapha’s presence in the body is good or bad (I immediately note that this question is provocative. Will you be able to explain why? :)). The commong answer you will get that it is bad. But not at all. Without proper Kapha content hair begins to “pour”, the nails become brittle and thin, the skin requires delicate care, and the hormonal background shifts towards unbalance. For example the lack of Kapha in the female body can cause amenorrhoea (absence of menstruation) or dysmenorrhea (irregular menstrual cycle).
What is the use of Kapha for yoga practising? How to understand it and be friends with this “fat” energy?
First, Kapha handles the elasticity of the muscles and tendon-ligaments. It gives mobility and enough hydration to the joints, and it’s responsible for the body flexibility.
Nadorom Ghi is a cow fat baked in a special way (which is Kapha-containing food). In Ayurveda, it refers to the class of sattwic (i.e. suitable for all constitutional types) and recommended for balancing Vata and Pitta Dosha (in both of them Kapha is in short supply).
So, Kapha promotes the accumulation and retention of fluid in the body and increases fat percentage in the body. It’s neither good nor bad. This is a feature of the body with which you need to work wisely.
From my point of view, it is ideal for building yoga therapy practise for people with a prevailing Kapha Dosha:
- warm-up of the body with “jumps” (first stops + knees, then – thoracic with a good set of prana-vyayamas, then hips + sacrum – again thoracic + cervical-collar zone, then press + bark muscles – thoracic with inclines down and dynamics in slopes). Such a scheme “warms up” the entire body very well. In particular places of the Kapha cluster, Ojas (“Internal Fire”) rises and the work of the sympathetic nervous system increases.
- a powerful complex of vertical asanas with dynamic elements. Fragmentary twists in the static, various balances, especially with the attraction of the knee to the shoulder and variations. This way we increase our internal strength. By sweating we allow Kapha to become liquid and “evaporate” from the body, and build up muscle strength.
- Dynamic sitting prana-vyayamas, especially in the following combination: “Bowing to the Earth” — “Woodcutter” with his legs apart — “Woodcutter” with legs together. It is important to focus on the area of the abdominal cavity, where so-called visceral fat accumulated, which is another difficult part of Kapha.
- completion of practice – good twisting sitting, such as Ardha Marichiasana combined with simple lying twists and compensatory back traction (especially the waist zone). Having warmed Kapha, it is important to make it move in the body.
- it is possible to supplement the last part of practice with pranayamas of a simple nature (full yogic breath, Anuloma-Viloma Pranayama). Breathing techniques fix the effect and stabilize the practitioner’s condition.
Treat Kapha Dosha with respect and understanding and your body will respond with gratitude!