Sunday, November 1, 2009

Lesson #6: Too Much Kapha

Too Much Kapha
by Gary Gran RYT, DAy.

Late winter and early spring are known as the kapha time of year in ayurveda. This means it’s an easy time for kapha to become excessive. So what exactly is kapha? According to ayurveda, kapha dosha is the life principle of water held in earth. It’s main qualities are a tendency towards excessive coldness, dampness, heaviness, congestion & stagnation within the body-mind complex.
Such an intellectual explanation can only teach us so much, however. So let’s try an experiment. Our goal will be to experience an overload of kapha first hand.

1) Slow down. Be as sedentary as possible. Sit around.
2) Let things pile up.
3) Avoid exercise. Be lazy.
4) Instead, stuff your face with lots of goodies, especially sweets, pastries, and carbs.
5) Keep the rich foods, desserts and dairy foods coming.
6) Ice cream before bed is the short path.
7) Then sleep and sleep some more. Be sure to get up late in the morning.
8) Be a couch potato. Watch lots of TV and zone out.
9) Procrastinate and ignore others when they complain.
10) Better yet, try this experiment with your friends.
11) Don’t plan for the future. Dwell on the past. Brood over the family.
12) Be sentimental. Be possessive.
13) Stick with that which is familiar. Don’t experiment or try anything new.
14) Move into a cool damp house. Live in the basement. So what if there’s a little mold or mildew around!

By now the kapha should be building up. If you’re feeling lethargic, heavy and dull you’re on the right track. Good signs are nasal congestion, post-nasal drip and lots of phlegm. Coughing and a nauseous stomach in the morning anyone? Good grief, you say you’re sinking into depression? Feeling sad? Then you’ve succeeded. You’re feeling first hand an overload of kapha.
So before we get lost in our kaphic morass, we better reverse course and apply the antidotes.

1) Get up and move around. Break up habits. Practice variety and change.
2) Clean up and throw out excess.
3) Start exercising. Try a variety of exercises and change your routines often. Work up to vigorous sustained exercise. Be active. Breathe deeply.
4) Eat less. Eat light. Eat a variety of foods. Break up habitual eating. Chew more. Better yet, learn how to cleanse and fast.
5) Eat more veges. Cut out the sweets and dairy. Take some hot spices to get your digestion moving.
6) Eat an early light dinner. Vege soup or a salad is your short path back to health. Don’t eat for several hours before going to sleep.
7) Sleep less. Get up early and exercise in the morning. Don’t sleep in.
8) Get out and about during the day. Stay active. Try something new for stimulation.
9) Take initiative. Work hard. Practice self-discipline.
10) Meet new people. Be socially active. Sing and dance.
11) Look to the future. Take risks. Take yoga classes.
12) Let go of the past. Let others go in their own direction.
13) Seek new ideas, new challenges and new interests.
14) Change your living space occasionally and be sure to dehumidify.

And, finally, realize your strength. In yoga, one of the best poses for kapha is the warrior. The warrior is strong, fearless and ready for action. Be that heroic warrior who out of compassion acts skillfully in service to all.