Feeling slothful? Kapha may be the culprit


This week marked the International Day of the Sloth. They were originally named after one of the Seven Deadly Sins, as they’re recognised as one of the world’s laziest beasts. And if you’ve ever felt remotely lazy or slothful, the root cause of your slothfulness may well have been the aggravation of Kapha inside you.

Kapha Dosha is comprised of Earth and Water, and it’s the associated elemental qualities of cold, dense, stable, slow, oily, cloudy, heavy, smooth, and gross, that inform her personality and make her who she is. And no matter our individual constitutional make-up, all of us will be prone to exhibiting slothful like tendencies every time these Earth and Water elemental qualities build up and become aggravated inside us. Who amongst us can’t remember a day spent on the couch binge watching a series whilst endlessly snacking and eating. This behaviour is textbook aggravated Kapha. We feel heavy, slow, gross, often cold, and our minds can feel cloudy and dense.

And if you’ve done the Dosha Quiz and discovered you’re predominantly Kapha, there will be parts of your body and mind, that are always displaying some of these elemental qualities, even when you’re in balance. Take Kapha’s digestion and overall metabolism for example, both of which are slow. If you have more of a Kapha constitution or are currently Kapha aggravated, this means your belly’s digestive fire will appreciate smaller meals made with lighter ingredients, so there’s less for this slow metabolism to process. Steering clear of too many heavy and cold foods ( including dairy ) will also help. This is because from an Ayurvedic perspective, ‘like increases like’. If you continue to eat heavy foods when you’re already more dominantly Kapha or Kapha aggravated, you’ll be actively increasing the heavy elemental quality inside of you. So eating lighter food in general, is always more likely to keep Kapha well. Snacking is also a no-no, simply because ingesting more food before the last meal’s been processed, overloads the slower digestive system and disrupts full assimilation and absorption of nutrients. Sloths are also known for their slow digestive power, with it often taking them ‘ up to 30 days to digest just one leaf ‘. (1)

Other elemental qualities and traits that Kapha constitutions and sloths share, include a phenomenal sense of smell, and great strength. In Ayurveda the sense of smell is understood to be linked to the Earth element. And Kapha’s are known for their physical strength and strong build, as are sloths who are ‘ able to lift their entire body weight upwards with just one arm’ from the moment they’re born. (2) If you’re Kapha and starting to feel despondent about some of your elemental qualities, never fear. In the ancient Ayurvedic texts, fewer illnesses are attributed to Kapha than to either Vata or Pitta. Having a Kapha constitution is a gift then, as long as you keep these Earth and Water energies in balance.

Whatever the constitution you’ve been blessed with, next time you’re beginning to feel slothful tendencies in your body or mind, take action – even though this will be the last thing you’ll feel like doing. Recognise this feeling of slothfulness is entirely due to Kapha. Then, start moving vigorously for some immediate relief, as this will lighten her instantly, and help her to feel more energised and become less ‘stuck’. Then begin to analyse your lifestyle, and see how you may have been aggravating these Earth and Water elements in the first place. For some guidance, see the list of Aggravators and Upsetters, and Soothers and Balancers on my website.

Sloths have been around for 65.5 million years, which shows a slow-paced lifestyle ‘ can be a good survival strategy in the wild ‘. (1) Since the pandemic, many of us have cottoned on to this eternal truth, and been pivoting towards living this way ever since. And fun fact: It’s said that without sloths there’d be no avocados – with their big stomachs, they were the only mammals ‘ with digestive systems large enough to process the huge avocado seeds whole’. (2) Avocado’s are also regarded as a heavy food in Ayurveda, meaning they’re great for pacifying Vata and Pitta, but can increase Kapha when consumed in excess. So next time you’re hoeing into ‘ smashed avo on toast ‘, send a quiet nod of thanks to the marvellous sloths, and don’t go overboard if you’re feeling slothful.



(1) wwf.org.uk ‘ Top 10 facts about sloths’

(2) slothconservation.org ‘Top 10 incredible facts about sloths’