Agni, a common word used in Ayurveda, is easily described as the digestive fire. But what is Agni, and why is it referred to so often in Ayurveda?
Agni is the system in the body responsible for metabolizing everything we consume, including what we take in through our five senses. Agni is also known as the digestive fire. When this so-called fire functions optimally, we can digest life in general. By digesting life, you can think of any stimuli that we consume, like; what we see, hear, touch, smell, taste, conversations that we have, and emotions that we experience but also the food that we eat. When agni is balanced, we create healthy body tissues and prevent disease. When agni is imbalanced, we create metabolic toxins and these will develop weak tissues and a breeding ground for diseases.
We can tell by the way our body functions whether our agni is working correctly.
Some of the signs of a strong agni are:
You feel energized throughout the day.
You have a regular menstrual cycle.
You sleep well and wake up energised
Balanced blood pressure
Average body temperature (no cold hands and feet!)
When our agni isn't functioning correctly, we cannot metabolize the things we consume into usable substances for our body. Instead, we create indigestible matter which is toxic to our body—known as "ama" in Ayurveda. This indigestion will stay behind in the gut and eventually will be transported from the gut to the deeper tissues. Clogging cells and causing imbalances in the body.
Some signs of toxin formation in your body:
Unpleasant body odor
Feeling tired or sluggish
To avoid symptoms and diseases caused by toxins and ama, it is essential to look at the cause of the improperly functioning Agni.
Are you digesting life?
Just like we need a properly functioning agni to digest the food that we eat. We also need a properly working agni to digest all the sensory input we experience during our day. Have you ever had the urge to unbutton your pants after a long day? This could be a typical sign of weakened agni due to too much input.
First steps to building a strong digestion
Not one person is the same, but the first step to building healthy digestion is figuring out the root cause.
As mentioned before, this could be multiple things. Like; your diet, lifestyle, or not having a stable daily routine.
For a lot of people changing their diet seems like an unbearable task. But once you are willing to take this step, it is usually the easiest, quickest, and most rewarding thing you can do. To heal the symptoms caused by weakened agni.
If you want to learn how to make a balanced meal, you can find the blog post here
Three tips to rekindle you fire
1. Eat your heaviest meal during lunch.
2. Go for a walk after eating (100-1000 steps)
3. Eat three freshly cooked meals a day
Agni, toxins, and a strong digestion
So, in short, Agni is the digestive fire, responsible for the way we consume food and life. When Agni is weak, this will result in toxins (a.k.a ama) that build up in the body. This toxic matter will stay behind in the digestive tract and eventually be passed on to deeper tissues, creating breeding grounds for diseases. To build a strong digestive fire, it is essential to look at the cause. This can be anything from diet, unresolved emotions, lifestyle, and a daily routine that doesn't suit you.