Identifying the Doshas: What Does Kapha Look Like?

Do you wonder if you might be kapha dosha? Kapha is the dosha comprised primarily of water and earth, and the qualities associated with these two elements (moist, heavy, dense, cold). Below you will find the physical characteristics which are typical of kapha.

In addition to the below physical characteristics, kapha types tend to be caring, compassionate, loving. Slow speaking and slow moving. When out of balance, they can be stubborn, lethargic, perhaps become a “couch potato.” Physically they tend towards excess weight, congestion, water retention. Does this describe you?

Physical Characteristics of Kapha Dosha

The shape of the face of a person with a kapha nature is round. It is a soft, often smooth face revealing a gentle inner nature.

The eyes of a person of kapha nature tend to be large relative to the size of the face. They have a quality often called beautiful or luxurious. They reflect serenity and calm.

The nose of a person of kapha nature is large relative to the size of the face. The bridge of the nose is the widest of the three doshic types.

The lips of a person of kapha nature tend to wide and soft. Racial heritage often causes great variability in lip size; hence, this is not always the best indicator of constitution.

The complexion of a person with a kapha nature tends to be pale. There is often a lack of color.

The hair of a person with a kapha nature tends to by oily, full, luxurious, wavy and coarse. The fullness of the hair can be defined as many hair fibers per square inch. The hair fibers are also thick.

The skin of a person with a kapha nature tends to be moist, thick and soft. This luxurious skin is often dreamed about by those of a pitta and vata nature.

The bone structure of a person with a kapha nature tends to be quite thick. This is a relative term that assesses the circumference of a bone relative to its length. Kapha-type bones tend to be shorter with a large circumference.

The shape of the bones is often reflected in the neck. Kapha-type necks tend to be thick and short. A common description would note that the head might appear to sit on the shoulders.

People of kapha nature tend to have short, wide fingers. The longest finger is most often shorter than the length of the palm. The palm itself tends to be square and fleshy.

People with a kapha nature or imbalance tend to have thick nails that are strong and do not crack easily.

Body Build
The overall body build of a person of kapha nature or imbalance tends to be large or endomorphic. This reflects the heavy, dense qualities of earth. They tend to be heavier, though not necessarily fat. Stocky is a good term to describe their solid, thick nature. Taken as a whole, it is observed that the length of their body is shorter relative to the circumference of their body. This is the defining feature, regardless of height.

Excerpt from Principles of Ayurvedic Medicine, by Dr. Marc Halpern, Founder of the California College of Ayurveda