How many times have you heard this? Well it’s partly true but it’s not just what you eat. You are what you can digest.
Ayurveda focuses a lot on digestion and this seemed like a perfect start to my new series.
What is Agni? Agni is this fire that’s going on in our body. It’ll be too textbookish if I start explaining every aspect of agni. For starters, know that there are many types of Agni depending on their function & position but the three main agnis in our body are –
- Kaya Agni / Digestive fire
- Dhatu Agni / Tissue fire
- Bhoot Agni / Elementary fire
Let’s talk about the Kaya Agni today. This Kaya Agni or Digestive fire helps in digestion of food. It’s as simple as that! If your life goal is to digest whatever you want to eat and not gain an insane amount of weight or get sluggish or lethargic, you should learn more about your Agni.
How is your Agni? Is it Visham Agni (irregular fire) or Tiksha Agni (intensive fire) or Manda Agni (weak fire) or is it Samah Agni (balanced fire)? It could be in any of these states, it could fluctuate between these states depending on your lifestyle.
FYI, Samah Agni should be our #LifeGoal because having a balanced digestive fire will make sure that you eat properly, you have enough appetite, everything digests appropriately and you have enough energy to sail through your day; this is why this should be our ultimate life goal.
I’m not really going to go in depth with this, but as the name suggests, Visham Agni is the irregular fire that would mean your digestive system has changing moods. Sometimes you’d digest things easily and other times not, resulting in random spikes & drops in energy level.
Tiksha Agni is super intense which means you’ll get hungry all the time. You’d eat to your stomach’s content and yet you’d feel hungry in another hour or so. Energy level is generally high, but also leads to crankiness/irritability if you don’t eat on time.
People with Manda Agni have a slower metabolism. As a result, they experience low appetite, poor digestion and low energy most of the times. The reason for this state of Agni is mainly our bad lifestyle choices, processed food, untimely meals and untimely sleep. Without realizing this, you still put in same amount of food and it doesn’t get digested easily and eventually causes weight gain.
How do you know Agni is getting along well, that it is achieving balanced state? When you notice that your appetite is properly timed & you are excreting on time, you have good immunity and good energy levels with clear functioning of all senses and when you feel you’re on top of your game!
If that’s not the case right now, don’t worry, you can still strive to make it come to balance. It may require lifestyle changes which you must get ready for. Listing out few things that surely helped me balance my Agni to a great extent –
- Start including spices in your daily meals (like our Indian food already does), and I’m not talking about spicy food here, not hot chillies but beautiful spices like pepper, cinnamon, cardamom etc which help in digestion.
- Don’t drink cold water or cold drinks along with your meal because that diminishes the agni. When food goes into the system, the digestive fire is all fired up and the moment you throw in cold water, you are putting out the fire. The heat produced by body for the digestion is now not as hot resulting in slower digestion. Water before meal helps in losing weight btw, few sips along with the meal helps in digestion and just after the meal makes you gain weight.
- Try to start a habit of five- ten minutes’ walk after your meal or sitting in vajrasan. That’s the only yoga pose allowed just after a meal. Vajrasan helps block the circulation in the legs ensuring more circulation in stomach area and hence more fire.
- Sit upright while eating food (they say preferably in sukhasan (aalti paalti) on the floor lined with a jute/cotton mat)
- Do not overeat (no matter how tasty the food is). Thumb rule to follow is – 2 parts food, 1 part water and 1 part air.
And that’s how, ladies and gentlemen, you will soon attain your #lifegoal, the perfect Samah agni!