In Ayurveda, the Agni, or digestive fire, is responsible for an individuals energy. It is considered the foundation for true health. Digestive Agni is centred in the stomach and influences digestion, absorption, assimilation and elimination of food.
A good way to remember and understand your Agni, is to visualise a flame. In order to achieve optimal digestive function, you need to build a strong and consistent flame. This means tending to it often and placing the right quality and quantity of wood onto the fire. If you do not tend to it consistently, the flame will smoulder, weaken or perhaps even burn out of control.
When Agni is balanced, you experience optimal digestion with easy and regular elimination. When your Agni is weak, you experience symptoms like bloating after meals, excess gas, belching, indigestion, constipation, diarrhoea, reflux and more.
Strategies for good digestive health
Here are 5 simple suggestions for nourishing and nurturing your Agni:
- Eat regularly, do not skip meals. A strong fire needs to be tended to regularly so follow the 3:4 rule which means eating three meals a day, at least four hours apart.
- Create a safe, comfortable and positive environment around you when you are eating. Avoid distressing television, phone scrolling or intense conversations. Eating in peace helps you practice mindful eating by chewing your food, eating slowly and noticing the flavours in each bite.
- Go for a walk or gentle stroll after eating. A 10-20 minute walk after meals aids digestion and will also help lower stress levels!
- Eat your largest meal at lunch when the sun is strongest between 12 and 2pm, this is also when your digestive fire is strongest as well.
- Avoid consuming cold drinks during meals as this will dilute your Agni and dampens the digestive fire. Remember that flame you visualised before? Consuming cold drinks is like pouring water on a camp fire.
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