Our digestive fire or agni is the source of life according to ayurveda. It is a way to good health as it removes waste and toxins from our bodies and helps us absorb the nutrients from the food and drinks we consume. When we suffer from digestion problems it is a sign that we have a digestive imbalance and that our agni is weakened or impaired.
Digestive health in Ayurveda
The concept of agni in Ayurveda is the force of intelligence that governs the digestion of the food we ingest. It is the intelligence in our cells that decides which substances are allowed into our cells and tissues for nourishment and which substances are waste and should therefore be removed. Healthy digestion converts food into energy which helps our body function at its optimum capacity. In Ayurveda, a weakened digestive system is the root cause of diseases and ill health.
According to Ayurveda a poor diet, a diet not suited to our individual dosha constitution, an improper food combination, emotional disturbances and a stressful lifestyle can all lead to a weakened digestive system.
Ayurvedic remedies for digestive discomfort
Ayurveda has many solutions for improving digestion and treating different gastrointestinal tract issues that arise such as stomach cramps, abdominal pains and irritable bowel syndrome.
Herbal remedies – There are many ayurvedic recipes regarding using ayurvedic herbs and spices such as ghee, salt, fennel seeds, ginger honey, basil, tulsi leaves and buttermilk to help proper digestion.
Dietary recommendations – Ayurveda recommends eating to suit your body composition or dosha type so that balance is maintained. For some dosha types cooked foods are better whereas other dosha types benefit from consuming raw vegetables.
Adopting Ayurvedic lifestyle changes – Small yet effective Ayurvedic lifestyle changes such as maintaining regular meal times, practising mindful eating, practising yoga to destress, starting the day with warm lemon water, and getting sufficient physical activity and sleep, are effective and easy to adopt.
Good eating habits – This goes alongside mindful eating. Basically only eating when hungry, waiting at least three hours before meals so that the digestive process can happen properly, avoiding overly oily, spicy and fried food that can smother the agni and instead eating seasonal simple food that feed the gastric fire for good digestion.
Ayurvedic practices to support digestive health
There are numerous ayurvedic practices that aid digestion and help balance digestion. They help keep your digestive tract healthy so your body can break down the digested food properly to absorb the nutrients.
Daily routines help your digestive system because you tend to stick to regular meal times so that your body can adapt. Routines such as starting the day with a warm glass of water, absolutions, getting exercise, regular eating times, rest and relaxation and adequate sleep all work towards creating an environment that is good for your digestive fire.
Incorporating yoga into your daily life is believed to have benefits for the digestive system because it can help increase circulation, promote motility and reduce stress. There are specific yoga poses that are said to be especially good for promoting gut health. Some of these poses are:
- Parsva sukhasana or seated side bend
- Ardha Matsyendrasana or seated twist
- Supta Matsyendrasana or supine spinal
- Apanasana or knees to chest
- Cat- cow
- Cobra pose
- Belly twist
- Corpse pose
Ayurvedic detox for digestive issues
Ayurvedic detoxes are natural therapies that enhance your body’s natural ability to release toxins. These safe and gentle therapies help detox the bowel, urine, kidneys, liver, skin and sweat glands by gently coaxing these natural detoxification systems. They eliminate the imbalance created by a build-up of waste products such as faeces, urine and sweat, which if not removed can cause constipation, diarrhoea, skin issues, urinary tract infections and asthma.
These detoxes help strengthen your agni which helps you absorb nutrients better while enhancing your metabolism. After an ayurvedic detox people generally experience an increase in energy and vitality.
There are two varieties of ayurvedic detoxes, namely bodily detoxes and dietary detoxes. Under bodily detoxes are therapies such as Panchakarma and full body massages. These remove toxins from the body using herbal cleanses, enemas, bowel stimulants, detox products and steaming.
Dietary detoxes vary according to a person’s dosha composition. An Ayurvedic practitioner will provide guidance on food that will help you and on foods to avoid as they may cause toxin buildup in your body. You will generally be advised to eat seasonal food and to avoid excess consumption of caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods.
If you are suffering from digestive discomfort seek relief through an ayurvedic remedy as a natural way to relieve the pain and discomfort. Using natural herbs and spices, movement and smart daily habits you will be able to strengthen your digestive health and experience health and wellbeing while enjoying renewed vitality and energy. Get in touch with a reputed Ayurvedic practitioner and start healing and strengthening your digestive fire to ease digestive discomfort.