When was the last time you had a grand time while your tummy ached? Or you went to work feeling ecstatic despite a lingering bloat? It’s nearly impossible to create marvelous days when you’re not feeling your best.
Your digestive fire not only supports a physically healthy body, but many other aspects of your life as well.
When our digestion is strong and fiery, our bodies feel light and healthy. We meet our days with high energy and fluent joy.
On the other hand, when our digestive fires are a light ember glow that need to be stoked, we feel lethargic, depleted, and stressed out. A low digestive fire may partner with acne, frustration, and other illnesses.
The Ayurvedic Approach to Digestion
In Ayurveda, we digest not only the foods and drinks we consume, but experiences and emotions as well. In Sanskrit, this definition for digestion is called agni. Furthermore, agni digests assimilate the goodness that we intake, and eliminates what we don’t need.
The delicious, glowing leftovers from agni that energize and nourish us is called ojas. In opposition, the toxins that agni discrete is called ama. When ama is not eliminated completely, toxins proliferate and become the root cause of disease.
Easy Ways to Fuel your Digestive Fire
With this holistic approach to digestion in mind, here are some tips on how to strengthen your digestive fire year-round:
- Our digestive fire lives in the solar plexus area, our third chakra. To keep this area strong, 5-10 minutes of abdominal exercises are helpful. Consider adding in sit ups, forearm planks, and poses to your daily exercise routine.
- Pick up a meditation practice. Try to sit in silence twice a day, or go for a mindful, quiet walk. Meditation helps restore homeostasis, which encourages healthy digestion.
- Push your plate away when you’re 2/3 of the way full. When we overeat, our stomachs don’t have enough acid to breakdown all of the food. Additionally, when there is a little more space in our bellies after a meal, there is more room for better digestion.
- Drink ginger tea throughout the day. Ginger eliminates digestive discomfort and stimulates enzymes and saliva that assist with digestion.
- Eat without distractions. Put your phone and books away and turn the TV off. Take your time to chew slowly, and mindfully eat your meals. This not only helps you know when you are full, but chewing is the first step of digestion. We can really help our bellies out by consciously breaking down food with our teeth.
- Make lunch your biggest meal. Following a schedule of when to eat helps your body prepare for digestion. When the sun is at its highest in the middle of the day, our bodies are riled up and eager to digest food that will give us energy for the rest of the day. Avoid eating big meals at night, since we don’t want digestion to disturb a peaceful sleep.
- Practice pranayama techniques such as kapalabhati (the breath of fire), and agnisara kriya (belly pumping) to massage your internal organs and help get things moving.
- Incorporate light walks after each meal to control overeating and mitigate sugar spikes.
- Be sure to take time for deep belly laughter and cheer throughout the day.
- Try to work in an occupation that is meaningful to you, not take things too seriously, and breathe deeply when stress comes your way.
- Consider fasting during the equinoxes. Drink plenty of herbal teas, and eat kimachurri along with light soups. This helps reset your digestion system and give it a break.
Overall, a powerful digestion correlates with our lifestyle choices. Eating on the go or living a life full of stress may put excess pressure on our second-brain in our core. Incorporate mindful techniques throughout the day, and really enjoy the food that you are putting into your system to optimize your digestive fire and live a joyous life.
Author – Carolyn Gladd (YouVeda Wellness Contributor)