An Ayurvedic Perspective on Digestion

Angela Glaz

Ayurvedic Specialist & 500 Hour E-RYT


In Ayurveda, agni is the sanskrit word for fire and it 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.

The Functions of Agni:

  • Transformation

  • Digestion, absorption, assimilation

  • The creation of digestive enzymes

  • All metabolic activities

  • Strength and vitality

  • Tissue Nutrition

  • Skin color, complexion, glow and luster

  • The maintenance of body temperature Mental Clarity

  • Intelligence

  • Flow of cellular communication

  • Alertness

  • Confidence

  • Joy

  • Logic

  • Patience

What Healthy Agni Looks Like:

  • Normal Appetite

  • Clean Tongue (no coating)

  • Proper appreciation of taste

  • Good digestion

  • Balanced metabolism

  • Can digest a reasonable quantity of any food without issue

  • Proper and regular bowl movements

  • Stable health 

  • Steady weight

  • Normal blood pressure

  • Good immunity

  • Sound sleep

  • High energy, strong vitality

  • Calm mind

  • Clear perception

  • Courage, lucidity and intelligence

  • Cheerfulness, optimism and enthusiasm

  • Love of life

  • Natural longevity

What Impaired Agni Looks Like:

  • Emotional disturbances, with an increased tendency toward fear, anxiety, anger, confusion, lethargy or depression.

  • Low energy, weakness or fatigue.

  • Suppressed or over-active appetite

  • Indigestion: gas, bloating, constipation, nausea, hyperacidity, loose stools, a sense of heaviness, feeling tired or mentally foggy after meals.

  • A tendency toward congestion in the sinuses, the lymph, or even the mind.

The 4 Types of Agni:

Sama Agni - Balanced and healthy digestion

Vishama Agni - Irregular digest (Correlates to Vata imbalances)

Tikshna Agni - Sharp digestion (Correlates to Pitta imbalances)

Manda Agni - Slow or dull digestion (Correlates to Kapha imbalances)

Stay tuned! Over the next couple of months, we will dive a little deeper into the 4 types of agni and ways in which you can balance them in the comfort of your own home!

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