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:
Tikshna Agni is associated with the Pitta dosha. Pitta consist of the elements fire and water. It is the energy of of digestion, assimilation, and transformation.
While we all carry all three Ayurvedic doshas within in us, those that are Pitta dominant (more fire) tend to experience what we refer to as “hanger,” as their agni or digestive fire is stronger than Kapha and Vata. Pitta’s are the people you know that seem to be hungry all of the time, eat all the time and don’t gain weight, and get irritated easily when they have not been fed.
While Kapha and Vata, when imbalanced, are prone to low digestive fire, Pitta’s increases. This excess of agni is referred to as tikshna agni. Tikshna agni is essentially too much fire. Think about trying to roast a marshmallow. When roasting it over an open flame, you take your time trying to make it nice and brown. However, if it hits a flame, it turns black or into ash. The same thing happens when we we experience tikshna agni. Our digestive fire just burns everything up, causing irritation in the digestive tract, diarrhea, and depletion of the dhatus or our seven bodily tissues.
How to know if you’re experiencing Tikshna Agni?
Craving large quantities of food.
Acid indigestionNausea and/or vomiting
Pain in the liver
How to fix Tikshna Agni?
Shift your diet to more cooling foods like, cucumbers, mint, fennel, coconut, and cilantro. Avoid foods that are more spicy in nature. It’s also helpful to take 1-2 tablespoons of aloe vera juice 2-3 times per day to pacify any excess pitta and restore your digestion.
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!