It's all about Agni
I want to share with you some of the JUICY things we discussed in my recent workshop evening- “IT’s ALL ABOUT AGNI” at the Life Centre. I trust it sparked further interest and awareness about your Agni (digestive capacity) and most of all how to manage it. Getting to know and respecting your Agni is VITAL for optimum health on all levels. Cultivating a stable agni will have profound positive results on your health if followed with sincerity.
Living a healthy and easeful existence is available to us all. It is a matter of becoming more aware, responsible and shifting the physical and emotional patterns and mindsets that are promoting ill health. This all comes down to cultivating a stable Agni. We do not have to endure the physical and emotional dis-ease we may be putting up with on a day to day basis. Learn how to listen to your body and create a happier way of existing.
YOU & YOUR AGNI:
If you would like to learn more about your Agni and Ayurveda’s approach to modern day living/digesting – you can contact me for a one to one session.
I offer many tools to help you understand more about your digestive capacity for food and life. You can expect any of the following: Ayurvedic diagnosis to determine constitution and condition (pulse, tongue, face etc); suggestions for a daily routine/practice which incorporates: meditation, breathing and yoga practices; suggestions for diet and lifestyle. We start with small shifts – and make it very manageable for you to integrate in to your life.
I work with people either bi-weekly or monthly. Strengthening your Agni and fostering better health can mean ironing out some stubborn habits;). I therefore encourage regular updates via phone or email in between sessions to help individuals through the transition to better health. Overall the results have been very positive.
This is a summary REMINDER of the basic points to consider when it comes to AGNI. Most of all begin to HONESTLY OBSERVE (if you are not already) the signs your body and mind are giving you on a daily basis. This will help you denote how stable your Agni is. You can then go about your day being mindful of how stable that inner fire is and whether is is able to “digest” the way you are living today.
So here we are…
What is Agni?
Agni means “fire” in Sanskrit. Agni is the name for digestive fire/capacity in the body. On a physical level it governs all of the organs on the digestive tract from the mouth to the anus. It deals with digestion, absorption, assimilation of foods AND also thoughts, emotions, experiences. In Ayurveda- a stable agni and good digestion means a stable, healthy existence on all levels.
What are the signs of good health/stable agni?
Here’s what we all discussed:
Clear mind, lustrous skin, clear melodious voice and bright clear eyes.
Even energy levels throughout the day.
Physical comfort and ease.
Easy and regular elimination of urine, faeces, sweat and tears.
Balanced flow of energy and emotions.
Strong immunity, meaning no colds or flus.
No symptoms of imbalance, with proper working senses, organs, digestion and stable metabolism (not too fast or slow).
Peaceful mind and soul.
Good sound sleep patterns.
What are the signs of WEAK agni?
Gas, belching, bloating
Dark circles under the eyes, droopy skin between the chin and throat,
Low energy, feeling heavy
Puffy face, poor quality dull skin, hair, eyes and lips, poor expression
Allergies, food intolerance, tendency toward congestion in the head or lymph
Excessive appetite, low appetite, feeling groggy after eating-
Very low appetite, excessive appetite
Offensive body odor, offensive breath
Constipation, loose elimination, nausea
Sluggishness, heaviness, dullness in the mind, stagnation
Weak immunity, fatigue, weakness
Cloudy perception, mental stagnation
Inability to let emotions come and go; depression; increased fear, anxiety, anger and confusion, among others
REMEMBER! The main thing that affects agni is the STATE of MIND…
…WHAT affects the STATE of MIND?
• Our general attitude toward life.
• How we approach relationships.
• What we eat.
• How we live our lives.What weakens AGNI?
Rejection and lack of acceptance of life experiences.
Eating before the previous meal has fully digested- Remember have 4-6 hours gap between each meal. Yes this is totally against society’s SNACKING culture. If you eat a proper balanced meal 60% augmenting (building foods) with 40% extractive foods the craving and sugar levels with even out over time. See more below.
Eating too fast
Going to bed with undigested food in the body.
Emotional upset, including eating when angry.
Eating and drinking cold food or drink.
Eating difficult to digest foods when agni feels compromised.
Eating standing up or while moving, such as walking or driving.
Eating with distractions such as TV, computer or reading.
Eating with loud noises or excessive activity around you.
Eating fried, barbecued, highly processed or sugary foods.
Drinking large amounts of liquid with a meal and within an hour after a meal.
Poor food combinations (e.g: meat and dairy produce together- we can discuss this more in a one to one)
Poor quality food, such as junk food or refined sugar.
Overeating in any one sitting. This is more damaging than anything. It’s like throwing sand on the fire. If it happens then we have to give our agni an opportunity to rejuvenate itself. Overeating is often about avoiding our feelings. This is something to take a look at. See what it is that’s driving you at that moment of eating.
Skipping meals or eating too little.
Irregular eating schedule.
Consuming refined and toxic substances that are not digested through the digestive tract, such as alcohol, refined sugar, medications and supplements.
Too much sex or sex within two hours before or after eating.
Little to no physical activity.
How to STABLISE and STRENTHEN AGNI:
When I work with people individually we slowly make shifts to: diet, routine, lifestyle and Yoga practices. These are the most effective ways to strengthen Agni and reduce/eradicate long term health issues. The basic suggestions we discussed in the session are helpful for all people as an introduction. A more specific set of suggestions would be made in a one to one session according to your unique condition and constitution.Here’s a reminder of what we discussed about the YOGA of EATING:1. BE REGULAR: Eat at least 2 meals at regular times each day. Agni is weakened by erratic eating. Especially eating late at night. Make sure you go to bed at least 2 hours after eating your last meal.
2. The RHYTHM of EATING: Eat in tune with the circadian rhythm- day and night/seasons etc. Bigger meal in the middle of the day- lighter meals for breakfast and dinner.
3. The SANCTUARY of EATING– Eat in a calm environment.
4. CHEW CHEW CHEW! Eat slowly and chew your food properly- on average 20 chews!
5. Eyes too big for your AGNI?! Don’t over eat! Try the BURP test… ! That will tell you when you’ve had enough;). It will also help you SLOW down eating if you tend to eat to fast.
6. HAVE A BREAK! Ensure you have 4-6hours between each meal. No snacks!
7. THE FAST & THE FROZEN: AVOID the consumption of: fast food, frozen food & refined sugars. Heavy, deep fried, excessively oily foods are hard to digest. Remember help your fire by stoking it gently- not dumping cold, heavy substances on it.
8. Attention! Yes be MINDFUL when you eat… Pay attention to what you are eating, chewing…
Rather than talking excessively while eating.
9.Some like it HOT… some like it COLD… Ayurveda likes it COOKED and MILD:
Food which is warm stimulates ‘Agni’ and helps to promote optimal digestive function. Cold/uncooked food impairs the digestive function from an ayurvedic perspective. Similarly, food which is too hot/spicy can aggravate certain conditions of the body- inflammation, heat, skin irritation, heart burn etc.
10. BE WISE – BE FRESH, SEASONAL & LOCAL…! Eating good quality, fresh AND SEASONAL foods will improve agni tremendously…
11. 60%: 40% augmenting vs extractive: Your Agni is happiest when it has an appropriate balance of augmenting foods (grains, sweet root veggies, milk etc) and extractive foods (green veggies, legumes, meat, fish). Ideally we have 60% augmenting; 40% extractive. This should leave one feeling satisfied and (after regular eating like this) will help iron out cravings (which come from weak agni manifesting).
There are also many other things to do with lifestyle, routine and yoga practices. As mentioned…get in touch if you want to explore more.