Now is the perfect time to check in with your agni. Why? Spring is Kapha season. Kapha is cold and wet which dampens digestive fire. Low digestive fire is a big problem, and you don’t want seasonal effects to throw you off course. Agni is the fire of transformation, the mechanism of digestion and understanding in our mind and body. In Ayurveda strong agni builds wellness and opportunity.
“Agni is the main source of life and if you worship agni, you will be blessed with perfect health.” – Dr. Vasant Lad
I have struggled to digest and release emotions and conflicts my whole life. Variable mental and emotional agni caused a buildup of ama and anxiety. I ate to numb my feelings instead of working things out. Emotional eating weakened my digestive agni. A healthy relationship and friendship with mental and digestive agni is my growing edge.
Before Ayurveda I did not understand how to seasonally adjust to support my agni. Stuffed full was it for me. Hunger was something I only thought of when “Save the Children” commercials came on TV. I used to overfill my life with experience, food toxins, medicines and stuff to numb emotions.
Smothered Agni Slows Digestion and Builds Ama
Overwhelmed, I lost the capacity to be present and experience. Too much of everything is just numbing and blocks awareness. It dampens our digestive fire and increases ama. Ama blocks prana and burns through resiliency. I ignored the opportunity to get in touch with and listen to my agni and ignored the resulting symptoms. Things got worse. I had to befriend agni and rebuild my digestive wellness.
Fan the Fire
What does befriend agni mean? With Ayurveda I understand it means to choose and meter inputs, mental challenges and food based on prakruti and ability to digest healthily. Pay attention to seasonal effects. In spring eat less, decrease dairy and grains, and eat more greens. Add foods that are growing and living like sprouts and microgreens. Live life at the level that optimizes and grows your true nature. Stay out of overwhelm and carve out ease.
I want more experiences, great memories, growth and less ama. Ayurveda has taught me the relationship between agni and ama. Click this link to check in with your agni and ama.
Stoke Digestive Fire
Sama Agni is not my forte. (Strong Even Digestion) I struggle to build and maintain digestive fire. Listening to my body and understanding my feelings are developing skills for me. Spring is a great trigger for me to refocus on breathwork and to change over to lighter eating.
- Redefine satisfied. No food coma or discomfort at all. On a scale of 1 being starving and 10 stuffed I aim for 5 to 7.
- Find a way to feel deeper hunger once in awhile and befriend it. Historically it was normal to feel hunger and be hungry. Every so often my body needs to burn accumulated fat, not just carbohydrates. For me this means fast or juice fast one day a month or so.
- Lighten up on the starches and add growing green stuff to your plate.
- Eat living foods. 70 to 80% of your immune system lives in your gut. These guys take a beating and need active support. Probiotic organisms in your gut biome are the front line agni decision makers. They decide what is transformed and what is streamed to waste. Add back the probiotics in fermented foods to replenish these fire keepers on an ongoing basis. A healthy biome also helps balance my hormones and my mental outlook.
- Release anxiety and any regret for actions and feelings throughout the day. I journal to help me with this. I ask myself did I respond in wisdom or in ego? Was what I said true, accurate, said at the right time, and with the right intention? Add some alternate nostril breathing post journalling to flush any residual mental ama.
- Get out in nature and tap into the power of plants to help me detox and heal.
Eat Seasonally to Support Agni
For the spring Kapha season this means lighten up your food and get moving. The quantity and quality of food and all your inputs, need to be in right relationship with your digestive fire to fully engage with your life and live at your highest vibration.
Ayurveda describes several types of specific agni at work in my brain, senses, muscles and digestive tract. Are you listening to your agni and giving it what it needs throughout your body?
- Meditate to clear out the mental and emotional trash. If you are not processing daily conflict and stress it builds mental ama.
- Cleanse each Spring by simplifying diet and life, for a week or two. If you need help to do this find a really good group cleanse or detox program and join.
- Sleep on a regular schedule. Sleep is an important time when ama is processed for elimination.
- Eat whole organic natural foods; eliminate pesticides and food additives that are chemically based. I use the “Clean 15” and the “Dirty Dozen” to help refine my choices.
- Reduce or Eliminate Toxins. Cut down or out recreational drugs, like tobacco, caffeine, and alcohol. All these things put stress on your liver and are amagenic, or ama building in the body.
- Keep your vibration high by eliminating violent and dark TV, reading or music.
- Clean up. Throw out old junk and clear out clutter in your life.
- Reach out to friends to work through conflicts and stress as it comes up. Stay connected and don’t let anger or frustration build up.
Support Detox Pathways
Your body sequesters toxins with help from your small intestines and liver, so they won’t hurt you then moves them out through your exhalation, your sweat, urine and feces. You can help your body do this more efficiently.
- Sweat. Sweating through the skin is often a completely underutilized detox pathway. Get moving every day as your muscle movement pumps moves toxins out of your lymphatic system.
- Breathe with awareness. They don’t say take a deep cleansing breath for nothing you know. Every exhale releases ama we don’t want or need.
- Drink clean water. Sip it regularly over the course of your day. Water is the medium for communication and transportation in the body. Water saturates and flushes tissues and releases toxins for disposal out through the kidneys.
- Add Antioxidants. The key antioxidants; Vitamin C, E, Co Q 10 and Glutathione give your body a detox boost. A plant rich diet full of color gives all the nutrients you need to stoke your fire.
Agni Can Be A Lifelong Friend
With a little support your agni can be sturdy and resilient. Balance the qualities of spring; cold, wet, and heavy to burn strong and bright. Healthy Agni, means you can eat and assimilate a wider variety of information and foods. You’ll be able to thrive in a wider set of circumstances. Strong Agni is my partner in a rich vibrant experience of life full of growth and learning.
This spring befriend your digestive fire.
Let’s share self care practices to burn steady and bright! Add what you do to build and balance your digestive fire in the comments below.
Mary Sullivan MS, KRM, AYS is a writer teacher and researcher by education and experience. Mary is a long time member of the Yoga Healer Community. Mary helps people identify and implement daily practices, habits and paradigms that build their wellness and resiliency. She writes and teaches classes on lifestyle medicine for people with Lyme disease and other chronic illnesses. Mary began Dare to Self Care in 2013, as an outlet to help others. Follow Mary’s blog, Tweets and join her community on Facebook.