Why our digestion is the key to your health
DIGESTION - (AGNI in sanskrit)
Ayurveda believes our digestive system is the root of all disease. Agni in sanskrit is about the digestion, absorption and assimilation of food into energy.
If we pay close attention to our digestion and correct any imbalance we will have good immunity, and we can live a long and healthy life.
Our digestive system is the fire element. Our agni keeps our body warm, when our agni is slow our health will deteriorate.
So how do you know if your digestive system is balanced or imbalanced?
Start to listen to your body and pay attention to how you feel after a meal, what consistency is your stool, how are your energy levels, what symptoms are your experiencing.When Balanced - You feel natural urges, If you have good meal, feel satisfied, have energy, you don’t feel wiped out, if you eat correct food and correct amount you feel energised.
If not, you can feel bloating, IBS, diarrhea, heartburn, acid reflux. . . . all symptoms that your digestive fire wrong.
digestive fire can be right but food is wrong, milk and sour thing together - milkfish. Food poisoning, bloating, wind even if balanced digestive fire, if you eat anything get outside . . . I can see her mood, soon as give food nice cooked, everything is sorted.
If not feel vitality your digestive fire is not strong and you, bloating, IBS, diarrhea, irregular bowel movements. . . . all show that your digestive fire wrong.
The 3 Doshas and Digestion
Vata, Pitta, Kapha digestion are very different
Vata, like the wind is very up and down, appetite can be up and down, sometimes they want to eat sometimes they don’t. They can drink no water and then lots of water. If the don’t eat or have regular bowel movements their is very ungrounded anxious energy, they can feel overwhelmed, stools can be dry so they experience constipation.
Pitta - Have very strong digestive fire, when they have the urge to eat, they need to eat or feel ‘hungry’ their digestive system is very sharp, they can experience anger, frustration, heartburn, acidity when out of balance.
Kapha have slow digestive fire, the eat slowly and digest slowly, they love their food. They want to eat everything especially cake. They often don’t feel satisfied so continue eating. They can feel extremely tired and sleepy.
Vata people benefit from sitting down for 15 - 20 mins after they have eaten. They are most likely to be the people who will eat and then turn, they need to slow down.
Pitta can sit for 10-15 minutes
Kapaha people should sit for 10 minutes and then go for a walk, walking will help to stimulate digestion, sitting or sleeping will make the process slower.
Thirst and hunger are natural urges, don’t abuse natural urge.
Tips to help improve digestion;
- Small sips of warm water with food, do not drink iced water as this slows down digestion. Avoid iced water, it can be very shocking to our system.
- Proper chewing of food to make sure it is digestible
- A cup of lassi at the end of a meal is good digestive aid,
- Stomach should be, one third food, one third water, one third empty
- Eat fruit by itself - fresh fruit is considered very light and easy to digest - comparatively lighter than other foods. When it is eaten with (or after) heavier foods, it stays in the stomach for as long as the heaviest food takes to digest.
- Keep track of how you feel after you’ve eaten
- Sit at a table, eat mindfully tasting your food, chewing not watching TV or doing something else.
If you are looking for further advice for specific symptoms Ayurvedic consultations are available in person or via Skype. If you are local to Central Scotland we have a Yoga and Ayurveda Day Retreat focussed on digestion on Saturday 8th September from 9am - 2pm.