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:
Manda Agni is associated with the kapha dosha and is commonly defined slow digestion. Looking at the kapha dosha and the qualities that it holds: heavy, oily, cool, and stable, it is easy to see how these qualities can cause our digestion to be slower moving. The cool quality of kapha tends to cool agni’s heat while the heavy and stable qualities tend to put a hold on any movement that needs to happen.
When we are experiencing, Manda agni or slow digestion, the food we are putting into our body is not being processed, meaning that we are neither gaining nutrients and energy from the food we ingest nor are we flushing out what we don’t need. When this happens, we are accumulating ama or the build up of toxins in our body.
How to know if you’re experiencing Manda agni?
A general feeling of heaviness and lethargy in the body.
Nausea and constipation.
Acne or other bumps on the skin.
Gurgling in the stomach.
How to fix Manda agni?
Generally speaking, it is helpful to start incorporating foods that are warm, light, and spiced into your diet, and avoid cold and raw foods.
If your body is healthy enough, it is also recommended to do a 1-2 day liquid fast.
Twist! Twists are great nourishing and detoxifying poses to help aid digestion. Twists help massage abdominal organs and stimulate Agni, or your digestive fire. By gently twisting your body after a large meal, you encourage fresh blood to flow to your digestive organs.
Because there are often other lifestyle choices that we make, in addition to our diet, if a above listed doesn’t seem to resolve your digestive issue, it is best to book a consultation with an Ayurvedic counselor or practitioner.
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!