Agni, The Fire Inside
In Ayurveda, digestion refers to more than our ability to metabolize food items. Similar to the way we digest food when it enters the body through our mouth, Ayurvedic sciences teaches we must digest all other events and emotions we experience through the rest of our bodies, including our eyes, nose, ears, and skin. Our bodies use, agni, or digestive fire, in order to process everything that our bodies encounter, by harnessing the benefits and expelling the rest as waste.
Weak Agni Causes Ama
If the flame of the digestive fire is strong, you will be able to do this easily, however, weak agni leads to ineffective removal of the waste, which can result in a build-up of these toxins called ama. An excess of ama can cause emotional and health problems, as the build-up begins to block your internal energies from flowing freely.
Strengthen your Agni:
More than half of the human body is composed of water, so staying hydrated is a major component of Ayurvedic wellness. Since your digestive powers are viewed as a fire, by introducing ice or cold beverages to your system, you risk dousing out the flames, weakening your agni. To avoid doing so, try not to consume large amounts of water during meals, and replace frigid drinks with warm liquids and hot teas.
Avoid Raw Foods:
Cooking foods brings forth the nutrients in our favorite meals. By choosing cooked foods, your internal agni has less work to do since an external fire has already started pulling out those nourishing elements from what you’re eating.
Eat Your Largest Meal at Lunch:
People often prefer light lunches, as not to feel weighed down by a mid-day meal. However, due to the interconnectedness of you and your natural surroundings, your agni is strongest during lunchtime, when the sun is hottest. This means you’ll be better able to digest larger meals at this point of the day, and should stick to lighter meals before bed.
Certain spices help to facilitate a strong agni in each body-mind type. Incorporating these in your meals will strengthen your internal flame.
- Vata: ginger, cumin
- Pitta: aloe vera, fennel
- Kapha: black pepper, ginger