March 09, 2018 6 min read
In Ayurveda, the importance of proper digestion, absorption, assimilation, and transformation of foods cannot be overstated. The reasoning is simple – without great digestion, your body cannot maintain life itself. We rely on our digestive fire, or agni, to:
You might be surprised to know that agni also helps us digest our emotional and mental experiences as well. Balanced agni allows for the proper discernment, understanding, and processing of all of our experiences in life. When digestion is weak, it is likely that your ability to move through your emotions in a healthy way is also limited.
There are 3 different types of agni, each with a slightly different function. We will focus mostly on the different subtypes of jatharagni.
Jathara agni, the most important agni, has 4 different possible subtypes. I want to help you identify which subtype you are and how you can help to bring your agni back into balance.
Vishama Agni (irregular digestive fire) –corresponds to Vata dosha, and is symptomatic of too much air and space in the body.
Tikshna Agni (sharp digestive fire) –corresponds to Pitta dosha, and is symptomatic of too much fire in the body.
Manda Agni (slow digestive fire) – corresponds to Kapha dosha, and is symptomatic of too much earth and water in the body.
Sama Agni – this is your holy grail, balanced agni. The vast majority of people do NOT have sama agni, even though you might be surprised just how many people think that their digestive issues are “normal.” Gas, bloating, constipation, nausea, heartburn, sluggishness after eating are so common, and many individuals start to think that it is “their normal.” Your “normal” digestive state typically corresponds to their Prakruti, or constitution. For example, Pitta types are most likely to have tikshna, or sharp, agni as their “normal” state. Just because you have been dealing with the same digestive issues your whole life does not mean that is “normal” in the eyes of Ayurveda. Sama agni means you’re eating the right amount and types of food for your metabolism, getting adequate exercise, and rest. Sama agni helps to build balanced dhatus.
In general, your agni becomes imbalanced from:
In addition to the specific recommendations for each type of jatharagni, there are also some general guidelines for how you can kindle your agni and rid the body of toxins (ama).
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