Challenging Kapha

This fall, become more familiar with Ayurveda. There are three bodily constitutions within this ancient science that give us more information on how to stay healthy and balanced through all seasons; kapha, pitta, and vata. We’ve already learned how to balance pittas and vatas through the fall; and now, it’s time for kapha.


In college, I had a roommate who loved the cold weather. She reveled in the familiarity of winter, of the steadiness of the temperature, and in the knowledge that things weren’t changing—at least, quickly. In winter, she believed, things changed at a pace that she could grasp. The thing that she didn’t realize was that during her favorite season, she was prone to hibernate like a bear; because she didn’t want change, she stayed away from many things that would cause it. She spent far more time in her room; she walked less; and she tended to get more headaches (she has a chronic migraine problem). We would have conversations where she would laud winter and snow and fresh, cold air; and then she would turn around and complain about her head, or about not wanting to get out of bed, or about how much she hated that spring was on its way.


During autumn, however, she shined—if she was prepared. Fall gave her just enough cool weather to feel good and just enough change to challenge her. Instead of hibernation, she would find herself moving forward with school, with friends, and with her life. Fall stimulated her enough to drive and motivate her before the cold set in. After that, it was up to her to keep it up—but during autumn, it was easier because the weather itself was motivating.


My roommate was, in Ayurvedic terms, a kapha: compassionate, slow-moving, steady, grounded, large, thick-skinned, and open-hearted woman. (For more information on Ayurveda and the kapha constitution, click here.) The season of winter most readily imbalances her; and the season of fall, right before, almost seems tailor-made to balance kaphas before the hibernation of winter. The cold weather that kaphas feel so comfortable in begins within the fall; and the changing air and weather of autumn invigorates them, where change tends to be difficult to come to terms with. The mixture of challenge and comfort is essential to balancing kaphas, who need to bring more motivation within their lives. If this sounds anything like you, you are the kapha bodily constitution. Does fall help you feel more balanced?


Begin to notice how fall makes you feel—really, really feel. Deep in your core. Forget about how you think you’re supposed to feel. Forget about what other people tell you you’re supposed to feel. How do you, personally, deeply, feel about the fall season? And then let your own personal bodily constitution help you find your way into balance. If you thrive in colder weather, let your motivation and desire for things grow—and then get things done! If you tend to hibernate as cold weather draws closer, give yourself space. Breathe a little deeper. Listen to your body. And go from there, thinking about how you feel and asking yourself why. If you can’t seem to find the right answer, ask your yoga teacher; they always have great resources that you can peruse, as well as detailed observations of your own body during their classes. Don’t be afraid to ask! Because when you do, you learn more and more about yourself and the ways in which to find peace and space within your life. And those are always important.


For a Motivating Fall Kapha Flow, click here.


For more Ayurvedic information, click here.


To learn more about what dosha (bodily constitution) you might be, go to and take the self-test!

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