By Angela Glaz
500 Hour E-RYT and Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor
Agni is the sanskrit word for fire. In Ayurveda agni is referred to as the fire that promotes digestion and transformation. Ultimately, it is the discernment of agni that determines which substances enter our cells and tissues and which substances should be removed as waste. In this way, agni is the gatekeeper, the maintainer, the regulator of our life. Ayurveda identifies a vast range of functions for which agni is directly responsible, but it also teaches us that impaired agni is at the root of all imbalances and diseases.
Ayurveda classifies four types of agni or digestive fires:
Sama Agni is healthy and balanced digestion. When our digestion is functioning properly, we are able to distinguish when we are hungry, what type of food our body (not our mind) needs, and we are able to digest food easily. Ideally, healthy digestion will involve 1-2 bowel movements per day and those bowel movements should look like a ripe banana.
How to maintain Sama Agni:
Ask yourself: Am I actually hungry? Is this what my body or my mind wants?
Eliminate processed foods.
Avoid drinking a large amount of water before, during, and after meals. This ensures you are not putting out your digestive fire.
When you’re eating, let that be the only thing you’re doing.
Ensure you are chewing your food. Both the physical action of chewing and enzymes in your saliva helps start the digestion process.
Want to dive a little deeper? Want to learn how you can use the ancient healing tradition of Ayurveda to cultivate optimal physical an mental health?
Check out our online course, Foundations of Ayurveda!