It goes without saying that people’s modern eating habits are not very healthy. Our digestive system is now the most underappreciated part of our health. However, the digestive system itself is the source of 95% of all physical illnesses. A person with a healthy digestive system feels active and energised, and their thoughts are crisp and clear. The energy flow throughout our entire body, as well as the digestive fire, which is in charge of the major task of digesting, are intricately connected to our mental and physical makeup.
Fire is unable to distinguish between right and wrong. It doesn’t reject anything. It burns the wood fire and, if left unchecked has the potential to burn the wood used to build the house. Our bodies’ digestive fire functions similarly to a fire. If it is not calmed, it burns the vital fluids and prana, the life energy. It first burns the digestive juices, then the food particles. As a result, the person experiences acid reflux, irritability, thirst, weariness, and dehydration. The digestive fire must be in modest form and kept under control in order to perform properly.
Insomnia is a silent but deadly killer. The metabolic system tries to break down any remaining undigested food particles in the stomach, which causes gaseous toxins to enter the bloodstream and travel to every region of the body. As a result, blood oxygen levels fall, which produces a perfect environment for the development of malignant cells. In this instance, deep breathing performs a miracle by flooding the body with oxygen, which kills the malignant cells. The fountain of good health is also created by eating a nutritious diet and regularly detoxifying the colon.
Digestive fire from an Ayurvedic perspective
Many different sorts of fires are suggested by Ayurveda, including the “fire of wisdom,” “fire of the senses,” “fire of passions,” and “prema agni” throughout the body (the fire of love). These fires alter and mould us, whether for the better or worse. The majority of people in the world operate in accordance with one or more of these burning desires, such as a burning desire to earn more money, become famous or adored, or to accomplish more or do more. These fires provide us with the essential warmth, but if left unattended, they can also dry us out and cause burns.
The human body has thirteen fires that regulate our metabolic system at the cellular and molecular level. There are four dominant flames among these that control all other bodily fires in the body. The Vedas refer to the digestive fire as “vaishvanara,” while Ayurveda refers to it as “jathara agni.” According to yogic traditions, digestive fire is represented by the sun because the sun provides nutrition for most meals, including grains, roots, vegetables, sprouts, and herbs. The heat from the food is transferred to our bodily tissues through our metabolic activities.
The four main digestive fires that have an impact on human health are listed below.
The term Sama Agni denotes balanced fire. Sama is the Sanskrit word for even. Healthy digestive functionality is indicated by a balanced digestive agni. With the aid of sama agni, food is correctly digested and processed in the blood. Sama agni enhances the quality of the seven dhatus and creates a harmonious balance between the three doshas of vata, pitta, and kapha. Sama agni contributes to overall fulfilment and contentment by maintaining ideal mental and bodily harmony.
Vishama Agni denotes a vicious digestive fire brought on by a vata dosha imbalance. Agni Vishama is unpredictable by nature. Either too little or too much food is digested. Vata’s airy, cool, and light characteristics may fuel or extinguish the digestive fire. This results in stomach rumbling, weight gain, gas, erratic appetite, diarrhoea, dysentery, and stomach ulcers. Vishama agni frequently induces anxiety. The vishama agni conditions are indicated by a brownish-black coating on the back of the tongue.
Eating vata-pacifying meals, such as warm, oily, grounded, mushy, and nourishing foods, can help to stabilise Vishama Agni. Foods must be thoroughly chewed, and erratic eating schedules should be avoided. Yoga and pranayama are incredibly helpful in restoring the digestive fire’s vitiated state.
Tikshna means “sharp” in Sanskrit. Overproduction of the pitta dosha is related to the tikshna agni condition. Pitta is a heated, delicate, and incisive energy. Hypermetabolism is caused by too much pitta. The food is digested quickly, which causes the person to become ravenous quickly and undernourish the tissues. The lips, throat, and mouth are dry to the person. Gastritis, acidic saliva, heat flushes, hypoglycemia, colon ulcers, and nausea might result from this. Anger, aggression, harsh judgement, wrath, and envy are all symptoms of Tikshna Agni. A yellowish coating on the middle of the tongue is one indication of acute agni.
Pitta-cooling foods including mint, cilantro, watermelon, coconut, avocado, papaya, fennel, and cow ghee will calm down Tikshna Agni. Avoid sleeping in the wee hours of the morning. Evening yoga and deep breathing are particularly calming for excess pitta dosha.
In Sanskrit, the word “Manda” means “slow.” Excess kapha interfering with the digestive fire leads to manda agni. In nature, kapha is velvety, cold, dense, and hefty. A condition of dullness and underactivity results from an excess of kapha, which stifles the digestive fire. Undigested food produces poisons that ascend via the windpipe, which is a very harmful situation. As a result, the windpipe swells, resulting in breathing issues like bronchitis, asthma, coughing, allergies, and congestion. Manda agni grows gradually and also takes longer to stabilise. Diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and hypothyroidism are all conditions brought on by manda agni. In addition, it leads to dullness, lethargy, boredom, lack of ambition, possessiveness, and attachment.
This condition can be helped by consuming energising foods such steaming leaves and green vegetable soups that include a variety of spices like ginger, cloves, cinnamon, mustard seeds, and pepper. For kapha imbalance, it is advised to limit fatty oils and sugary foods (especially processed foods), while increasing light oils like olive oil and sunflower oil. To reduce excessive kapha, try yoga, walking, cycling, swimming, and high-intensity exercises.
It is highly likely that a person could suffer from multiple different types of impaired agni. For instance, vishama-tikshna-manda agni with major health issues, vishama-vishama agni with high hunger and irregular digestion, and vishama-tikshna-vishama agni. As a result, it is essential to choose organic, fresh, and healthy foods, as well as to regularly practise deep breathing, yoga, and exercise routines to maintain a healthy digestive fire.
Due to our hectic lifestyles, it may not always be possible to follow the healthiest habits, but it is essential to keep in mind these priceless Ayurvedic teachings so that one can make healthy decisions whenever possible.