The Ayurveda Guide: Agni ... You Are Only As Healthy As Your Agni

Disclaimer:
All content included on this website (including, but not limited to,  images, photos, graphics and text) is the property of ‘Healthy Ayurveda’ and ‘Vedic Sage’ and as such is protected by US and international copyright and other intellectual property laws. 

 

 

The Ayurveda Guide: Agni

Charaka, the ancient seer of Ayurveda, states that “the individual is the epitome of the universe”. This implies that – that which exist in the vast eternal universe also appears within the inward cosmos of the human body. The entire universe is made from and these elements are referred to as “Panchamahabhutas” … translated as ‘The 5 Great Elements’; i.e. ether, air, fire, water and earth.

The Principle Of Transformation:
Fire is radiant energy and is active and changeable. It is the source of all transformative processes in the body and is responsible for digestion, absorption and transformation of food into energy.

Qualities Of Tejas/Fire:
– Hot
– Sharp
– Minute
– Light
– Rough
– Non-slimy

The qualities of hot, dry, penetrating and sharp demonstrate the radiant energy of Fire in the body. Skin complexion, eye luster and intelligence are expressions of the elemental energy of Fire. The liver, stomach and the pancreas are the primary sites of the Fire element. The element of Fire brings the qualities of attention, appreciation, recognition, ambition and competitiveness.

 

 

The ancient Vedic culture has long revered Agni [i.e. Fire] as being the bridge between our normal/ordinary state of mind and the Divine Self [i.e. Para Brahman]. Fire is honored as being sacred as it has provided warmth. light, and the ability to cook which has allowed for the survival of man. Similarly, when we eat ... we should eat in a way to honor the sacred fire within.

 

 

 

 

 

Agni Is [Nearly]   Everything ...

The digestive fire [“Agni”] is thought to be that which gives strength, vitality, and happiness to all human beings. More specifically, Agni is thought to be the digestive fire which governs digestion, absorption and assimilation of all nutrients of the body. It's explained that if Agni is balanced then the individual will be happy, healthy and holy.

 

 

Functions Of Agni:

  • Pakti: digestion, absorption, and assimulation of food
  • Darshana: visual perception
  • Matroshna: maintains normal body temperature
  • Prakruti varna: maintains bodily constitution & complexion
  • Shauryam: gives confidence, courage, and fearlessness
  • Harsha: creates joy, cheerfulness, laughter, and contentment
  • Prasada: provides mental clarity and wholeness
  • Raga: creates affection, interest, enthusiasm
  • Buddhi: reasoning capacity, logical thinking, discrimination
  • Dhairyam: gives patience, stability, and confidence
  • Dirgham: maintains the span of life
  • Prabha: creates a healthy glow and luster
  • Bala: provides strength and vitality

* Above List From: Textbook Of Ayurveda, vol. 1; Dr. Vasant Lad

 

Agni provides our actual capacity to transform the food—and situations, thoughts and emotions—that we take in so that it becomes nourishment. The very best way to support your agni is to give it the proper time and space to do it’s job.

 

 

General Guidelines: 

  • Wait at least 4 hours between meals (with no snacking in between).
  • Drink very little liquid with meals—or even within 1 hour of eating. Small sips of warm soup or tea may aid digestion, but a big glass of icy drink will smother the flame of agni.
  • Eat only during daylight hours. Give the body at least a full 12 hours of night to perform the more subtle aspects of digestion—clearing out the organs and allowing them to rest.
  • Eat only when you feel real hunger. If you don’t know what real hunger feels like, you should experiment a little bit with it (those with irregular or excess agni may often experience “false hunger”).
  • Base your meal frequency and size on your level of activity on a given day. It could be as simple as this: the more physical or mental effort you put out, the more food you need.
  • People with clearly slow agni may choose to fast or to eat very lightly one day a week so that undigested food which is clogging the system may be digested.

 

 

Four Main Types Of Agni ...

 

According to Ayurveda, there are Four Main Types Of Agni. 

  • Balanced [Sama Agni]
  • Irregular/Erractic [Vishama Agni]
  • Sharp [Tikshna Agni]
  • Slow/Dull [Manda Agni]

 

Normal & Balanced Digestion ~ Sama Agni 

When Agni is balanced and digestion, absorption and elimination are all normal then this is considered a state of good health. Such a person who has proper functioning Agni not only has perfect physical health but also possess a calm and serene mind with great clarity and bliss.

Essentially, healthy happy & holy.

 

 

 

Irregular & Erratic Digestion ~ Vishama Agni

Ayurveda explains this type of digestion as being erratic and irregular because at times you may experience diarrhea with lots of gurgling sounds in the intestines. Other times, you you will likely experience abdominal distention, gas, constipation and colicky pain. This type of digestion is commonly associated with Vata types. Vata types often have irregular digestion; meaning very hungry at times and at other times no hunger at all. Vata types are also thought to have a “hard” digestive tract and therefore makes them more vulnerable to experience symptoms of abdominal distention, flatulence, and even develop a nervous appetite.

Vata types can have eyes bigger than thier stomach so the first suggestion would be to consider having smaller yet more regular meals. In fact, these individuals do best with small, unctuous, warm, and regular meals. Generally speaking, vata types benefit most from sweet, sour and salty foods that is somewhat oily and even spiced up to one’s liking.

Other Common Associations:
– dry skin
– cracking and popping of joints
– low back pain and/or sciatica
– insomnia
– excessive worry, fear, and anxiety

 

Improving Digestion:
Keeping in mind that prevention is better than cure your goal should be centered on the maintenance this state of equilibrium. Therefore, consider the following:

  • Allow 4-6 hours for proper digestion
  • Eat only when you’re truly hungry
  • Avoid snacking
  • Drink less water during meals
  • Eat calmly in a soothing environment

 

Sharp Digestion ~ Tikshna Agni 

We can think of this type of digestion and being intense in the beginning but often lacking sustenance to endure the entire process of digestion optimally to completion. More simply, you have the ability to eat large meals, frequently. However, in doing so you will also often experience hyperacidity, and even become vulnerable to having loose stools or diarrhea.

This type of digestion is commonly associated with Pitta types. Pitta types often have a ferocious appetite and are thought to have a sharp and robust digestive ability. These individuals can digest just about anything they eat. Because pitta types have a “sharp” digestion, they can easily become irritable if they suddenly become hungry and there is no food to be had. Therefore, it is important for pitta types to eat on time. Interestingly, pitta types commonly crave hot and spicy food. In fact, “unbalanced” pitta types often have cravings for alcohol, pickles and of course … spices! Therefore, once again, this stresses the importance of pitta types to avoid spicy foods since these individuals are most prone to acid indigestion and heart burn. Therefore, these individuals may want to consider consuming a mildly sour flavor [i.e. buttermilk or even a few drops of lime] to help regulate their hyper secretion of digestive juices. The best flavors to help manage the fiery pitta type? Generally, pitta types do best with sweet, bitter and astringent flavored food which is cool in nature and lightly cooked.

 

Other Common Associations With Sharp And Intense Digestion:
– heart burn
– acid indigestion
– gastritis
– hypoglycemia
– irritability and anger
– critical and judgmental attitude

 

 

Slow/Dull Digestion ~ Manda Agni
You may have wondered at times how in the world can you gain weight simply by taking a small sip of water. Yes, that’s quite an exaggeration. However, it is likely you commonly experience having a slow metabolism, a full sensation in the stomach, and can even go long periods of time without developing a strong appetite. Often, after a meal you may notice a heavy feeling and even feel the need to take a nap. This type of digestion is commonly associated with Kapha types. Kapha types are thought to have the most stable appetite. However, kapha types are also the ones to have a more slower metabolism and digestive capacity. Hands down, kapha types are loving and compassionate. Along the same lines, kapha types enjoy food and if their need for love goes unnoticed, then these individuals are more prone towards “comfort-eating” more so than others.

Kapha types often have less secretion of digestive enzymes and therefore will likely find benefit with bitter and pungent flavors. When kapha types are “unbalanced” they will crave both sweet and oily food. However, flavors most beneficial for kapha types are pungent, bitter and astringent flavored foods which can help maintain optimal health for these types. Likewise, since kapha is “heavy and earthy” in nature, these individuals will find benefit with fasting on a routine but structured basis.

 

Other Common Associations With Dull Metabolism:
– weight gain
– edema
– congestion
– lethargy and excessive sleep
– attachment and possessiveness

 

Disclaimer:
All content included on this website (including, but not limited to,  images, photos, graphics and text) is the property of ‘Healthy Ayurveda’ and ‘Vedic Sage’ and as such is protected by US and international copyright and other intellectual property laws. 

This information is strictly for educational purpose only and not considered medical advice. Always first discuss with your primary care physician before considering any new health regimen.

Resources:

Ayurvedic Perspective On Selected Pathologies, Vasant Lad, BAMS – 2nd Edition Revised
Textbook Of Ayurveda Vol. 2 & 3, Vasant Lad, BAMS


The Story Of Disease: An Ayurvedic Understanding

The Story Of Disease
There's a fascinating story I've heard that describes the "Summary of The Process of Disease Formation," according to Ayurvedic Medicine. First, disease begins when we forget our true nature. This is known as the "Primordial Cause" of disease. We forget how we as spirit are spiritualizing through the human experience. According to Marisa Laursen, a professor at the California College of Ayurveda, "the mind is a place of purity and clarity. The thought comes along and disturbs the mind."

the "Primordial Cause" of disease.

"Thought is part of ego and the chatter becomes the smoke screen that disturbs us from the true self." The ego creates stories and draws upon attachments to the past and projections of the future, constantly shape-shifting and vacillating between the two; preventing us from being absolutely absorbed in the present moment because it fears its cessation. There is a sacred text called the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and the first line of the yoga sutras states "yoga chitta vritti nirodha", which means that "Yoga (union/merging) involves the cessation of the disturbances of the mind." There are 195 sutras or verses and of the 195 versus the 194 verses show us how to accomplish verse number one.

"Ayurvedic Living" By Dr. Marc Halpern

The process and movement of time, which is known as "Parinama" or that which relates to things that change, is the next cause and contributing factor. There are two aspects to time. One relates to Linear time, which is out of our control because this involves the cycles of the earth revolving around the sun and the changes of season. The second form of time consists of Biological time, which, though is in our control, it is dynamic. This is because the pacing of biological time changes with response to our motion and as motion increases, the rate of biological time increases. With this, the body either ages faster when we are moving faster and more slowly when we slow down. A busy mind causes us to perceive time as moving quickly and a mind that is still and more anchored in the present moment, time slows down. When the mind moves quickly, the body will reflect this and as the mind moves slower, the body will reflect this too.

“and a mind that is still and more anchored in the present moment" ... 

Once we experience a busy and chaotic/distracted mind, we come to the next step where disease develops. This experience is called "Prajnaparadha" or "crimes against wisdom/failure of intelligence". What happens here is that on some deep level we know what is right for us but we allow our minds to convince us otherwise and we make opposite choices. Our intellect is constantly being used to make decisions and it prefers to choose between pleasure and harmony. This is where the ego feeds off the senses and uses the senses to support its own happiness somehow as it pursues outer pleasures to satisfy itself and perpetuate its own existence through separation/division. Dr. Marc Halpern, President and Founder of the California College of Ayurveda, says "While the ego and the senses speak loudly within the great hall of the mind, the soul speaks in whispers." When we allow our inner wisdom to be ignored, it's because we have given our power away to our senses and this leads to the next place where the five senses, the eyes, ears, mouth, the skin, and smell dictate our interaction with the world.

Amrit Nectar  
Enhances coordination of mental and physical functions; supports balance between the heart and the brain; powerful antioxidant.

This is called "Asatmendryartha Samyoga" or "unwholesome conjunction of the senses with their objects of their affection." Dr. Marc Halpern further explains: "When people take into their body that which does not match their constitution, they are considered misusing their senses. In addition to taking in what is not harmonious, a person may also take in too much or too little of what is energetically harmonious for that person. This too will cause disease."

... only Ayurveda has a full definition of what is health.

What is amazing is that of all the healthcare systems in the world, only Ayurveda has come up with an adequate and full definition of what is health. Other systems, like Allopathy, define health as the "absence of disease" but Ayurveda says this "Sama Dosha Sama Agnis ca Sama Dhatu Mala kriya Prasannatmendriya Manah Svasta itiabhidyate" which means "balanced constitution(Vata/Pitta/Kapha), balanced digestion, balanced tissues, balanced waste products (urine, feces, sweat), balanced senses (eyes, ears, nose, mouth and skin), balanced mind (sattva, rajas,tamas), and alignment with spirit is what healthy is." Any disturbance or abnormality in any of these is an indication of disease.

Stages Of Disease ... 
Additionally, Ayurveda has broken down disease pathology into six stages, known as "Samprapti." Each of the stages can be understood as such: Accumulation, Aggravation, Overflow, Relocation, Manifestation and Diversification. There is an image that helps to grasp these concepts more easily. Let's say we have a tree and the roots are the doshas (tendencies towards imbalances based on constitutional determinants, of Vata, Pitta and Kapha) and these roots are below the surface. What is above the surface is the trunk of the tree and this represents Overflow, where the blood and plasma exist as part of the circulatory system. As the tree progresses upward, the branches form and this is known as the Relocation Phase. From the branch, we have a bud and this budding is the Manifestation of the disease. After it starts to bloom and this blooming is the full-fledged experience of the disease, known as Diversification. According to Ayurvedic prevention and management of disease there is a natural cycle that happens throughout the year and with each season. As one season is present, that is the Aggravated Phase and the season that just left has now been Alleviated but while we are in the Aggravated Phase the next season is already Accumulating.

Herbal Di-Gest 
Supports improved digestion and balanced appetite; helps with gas, bloating, and discomfort.

A Closer Look
As each Dosha (biological constitution, that is prone to decay) undergoes this experience of time/season change, the natural Alleviation of particular symptoms occurs. IF or WHEN, for some reason or another, this cycle is interrupted and Alleviation is prevented, we enter into Overflow and this is when a disease is really progressing. In other words, it is during the Accumulation and Aggravation phases that this is the beginning of a disturbance that begins in the digestive system. Commonly ignored, may appear subtle or overt, disturbances would be: sluggish digestion (weak/low digestive fire = Manda Agni), gas/dry stools (variable digestion = Vishama Agni), and/or burning indigestion (sharp digestion = Tikshna Agni). Low digestion relates to Kapha. Variable digestion relates to Vata and sharp digestion relates to Pitta. Balanced digestion is called Sama Agni where there are no digestive disturbances. It is during the Accumulation and Aggravation phases that we can catch a disease from further progressing but we are usually too busy and less sensitive to notice and we keep pushing ahead until other symptoms develop and scream for out attention. It is at these stages that, according to Ayurveda, that we can simply balance our diet and lifestyle, making better choices that we can prevent diseases from increasing. When the symptoms have progressed and they enter into the circulatory system then we have to intervene with herbs/medications and other therapies. Regardless of what stage a disease is at, diet and lifestyle must be adjusted in order to secure the optimization of health. Herbs/medications alone are not meant to do the job completely as we are whole beings and not just treating parts of a body/mind. This is the holistic approach and effort. Even when herbs are administered, diet and lifestyle provisions are made to ensure success or at least make some improvements.

Disease starts out as "dis-ease".

Prognosis is about the likelihood of improvement and/or correction of a condition. Disease, depending on what stage of development it is at can always be managed. There are diseases that are Easy to cure, Difficult to cure, Incurable but not terminal and Terminal.  Disease starts out as "dis-ease" and picks up momentum until it has completely manifested itself as disease and by returning ease through our diet and lifestyles we can encourage disease to return back to ease. Importantly, this ease also involves supporting the well-being of a person through their state of mind. I've said for many years now, that it's about the little things that build up to the big things.

There are of course extenuating circumstances that are to be factored into all this, circumstances such as external factors like accidents and other outside variations of trauma that can influence health and disease pathology. Karma falls into this and it is important to remember that karma is not about blame or judgment but about balance. Karma is not about punishment or reward, it is about balance. In Ayurveda and Yoga, we know that karma is a result of selfish acts and by being selfless we can release ourselves from the cumulative effects and experiences of karma. This is a discussion that requires further exploration at another time and escapes the main purpose of this present article which is meant to give a general understanding and summary of the cause of disease. This current article is meant to share a perspective and expand our lens on the possibilities that surround dis-ease leading to disease. Simply, we can always either prevent or manage.

In summary, take note of what your senses are doing. Take control of them. They are like the five horses without a charioteer and once the charioteer takes hold, the horses can be guided. Similarly, our innermost and highest version of ourselves is the charioteer and when we take hold of the five senses we can get a better handle on our lives. Ayurveda has in place a five sense therapy protocol designed to support this process and journey. With regard to other stressors, by reducing the stress we experience as the mind stresses because of past and future projections and attachments, we can feel more in touch with what is happening to day and embrace the grace of the moment that invites us to be intimate with it. Practices such as, yoga, Ayurveda, meditation, Tai Chi, and other holistic modalities are meant to support us in remembering who we are and what we have come here for. When we remember who we are by escaping the illusions and story-telling of the mind rooted in the attachment to past and future events, we will find our interactions with the world coming from a more wholesome place and the choices we make will be more in alignment with what is true in our hearts and not what we think is true in our minds.

About The Author
Vishnu Om

Vishnu M.Ayu, BA Psy., LMT, CSP, E-RYT, CS2, is a licensed massage therapist with more than 15 years of experience and Master’s of Ayurveda/Yoga from Hindu University of America. Vishnu is currently enrolled in California College of Ayurveda with the intention of obtaining his doctoral degree in Ayurveda. He is the owner of ‘Still Point Ayurveda’ Center and offers Ayurveda out of a few locations. To learn more about Vishnu and his practice you can contact him at Still Point Ayurveda.


How To Improve Your Digestion Naturally

 

Improve Your Digestion Naturally
( Agni Tea. Photo by Emma Eckert www.radiantmoonchild.com )

In Ayurveda digestion is referred to as agni. Agni is your digestive fire and it is the first line of defense against illness. So tending to it properly is crucial to overall health. When you first light a fire, you don't smother it with large logs, but slowly add kindling until it starts going. Then when it comes time to put it out, you let it burn out on its own. Digestion works in this same way.

Ayurvedic Supplements For Digestion
Good health depends on strong and efficient digestion.

When you first wake up, you should begin your day with a lighter meal, slowly building up your agni. Then around noon, it should be working at its hottest. This is when you should eat your largest, heaviest meal. For dinner, eat something of moderate substance. If you were getting ready for bed, and putting out the fire, would you place another large log on it? No. That log would not burn completely and wouldn't be consumed until the following day when a new fire is started. That being said, late night snacks and large dinners work in the same way. Your digestion is slowing down for the night, so any foods consumed too late wont be digested properly.

How To Naturally Heal Low Stomach Acid - Dr. Josh Axe 

Top five natural remedies to follow to naturally improve your stomach acid are:
1. Apple Cider Vinegar (Take one tbsp before meals & with digestive bitters for optimal results)
2. Digestive Enzymes (1-2 capsules before meals)
3. HCL with pepsin (only consume with protein in a meal, please advise your physician)
4. Manuka Honey
5. Lifestyle change: chew your food, eat smaller meals, and try intermittent fasting
- Source: Dr. Josh Axe 

 

Four Main Types Of Agni 
There are four types of agni:

  • Tikshna Agni [sharp/strong digestion]
  • Vishama Agni [variable digestion]
  • Manda Agni [slow digestion]
  • Sama Agni [balanced digestion]

 

Tikshna Agni
Tikshna agni is strong digestion. Someone with this type of agni experiences a very strong appetite. Even though it is strong, it isn't beneficial. This type of digestion over processes foods, stripping it of it's nutrients. Due to over processing, people with this type of agni usually suffer from malnutrition. If they skip meals they become irritable and lightheaded. Oily and spicy foods upset their systems and can lead to loose stools. In order to help balance this type of digestion, stick too cooling foods. You can garnish your meals with lime, cilantro and coconut flakes. Usually in Ayurveda snacks are frowned upon, but for this type of agni, snacking is good. Just make sure you're not eating oily nuts. Try cooling cucumbers or other vegetables.

Organic Cooling Pitta Spice Mix
Organic Cooling Pitta Spice Mix features coriander, cardamom and turmeric.

Vishama Agni
Vishama agni is variable digestion. People with this type of digestive fire can skip meals. They'll get wrapped up in an activity and simply forget to eat. When they do eat, they tend towards gas and bloating. The best way to help balance this type of digestion is through a regular eating routine. Don't skip meals. Make sure the food you're eating is well cooked and not raw. Warm foods are best, such as soups. For those of you who really struggle with gas, hingvastak is a great remedy. It's a powder that you can sprinkle on everything you eat, and because it's a carminative, it helps alleviate gas.

Organic Vata Churna Calming Spice Mix
Organic Vata Churna Calming Spice Mix is a blend of seven ingredients, including cumin, ginger and fenugreek.

Manda Agni
Manda agni is slow digestion. This can show up as a slow starting appetite, where true hunger doesn't appear until later in the day. People with manda agni tend to emotionally eat, and may never experience true hunger. After eating they feel tired and sluggish. First and foremost, if you have this type of digestion, only eat when you're hungry, even if that's not until noon. To help kickstart your hunger, try drinking a warm glass of lemon water first thing in the morning. Once you do feel the need to eat, stick to well spiced foods. Avoid sweets, dairy and other cooling foods.

Organic Kapha Churna Stimulating Spice Mix
Includes ginger, coriander and turmeric.

Sama Agni
Sama agni is balanced digestion. These people wake hungry, but don't have an overbearing appetite. They have no issues digesting any kind of food. This is the type of agni we all strive to achieve, and once we get there, we need to keep it in balance.

 

10 Tips To Help Improve Your Digestion:
No matter what type of digestion you have, the following list is important to follow in order to keep your agni healthy.

1. Begin your morning with a glass of room temperature water.
This helps clean out your digestive tract from the day before. Overtime, this will encourage a morning bowel movement. This helps ready your digestion further. If you aren't defecating first thing in the morning just yet, sit on the toilette after drinking your water. This will help train your body to poop before breakfast.

Copper Cup
A real ayurveda classic. Fill the cup with water in the evening, leave it to stand overnight and drink the water the next morning. In ayurveda this water is particularly highly regarded because it is said to have a purifying as well as a balancing influence on Pitta dosha. From a scientific point of view, the water has absorbed pure copper, which in this form is an essential mineral for the body.

2. Only eat when hungry. 
This is crucial. Don't eat until you experience true hunger, even if that isn't until noon. If you dump food onto your digestive fire which isn't burning hot yet, this food wont be digested properly. This undigested food becomes toxic sludge which leads to sickness.

3. Eat slowly and chew your food.
In today’s fast paced world we are prone to rushing threw everything, our meals included. Eating too quickly leads to overeating. Sit down and eat your meals without any distractions. It's also important to fully chew your food. Attempt to chew at least twenty times before swallowing. This allows for easier digestions.

4. Eat without distractions.
No facebook, twitter, instagram or even magazines. If your energy is focused on reading, it wont be focused on digesting.

5. Don't drink too many liquids during your meal.
Drinking too much during a meal dilutes your digestive fire, leading to indigestion. Take small sips while you eat and resume normal liquid intake thirty minutes after you've finished your meal.

6. Avoid iced drinks.
While we're on the topics of drinks, don't drink anything with ice in it! This dulls your agni and makes digestion harder. Stick to room temperature or hot drinks. This includes any liquids throughout the day, not just during meals.

7. Practice proper food combining. 
The list of proper food combinations is long, so we will stick to the most common. For example, don't drink milk with fruit. It's very common to eat fruit with yogurt, don't do it. Fruit should be eaten by itself. Stick to one type of protein at a time. This includes beans as well. So don't go mixing beans with eggs. In fact, beans and eggs shouldn't be eaten with cheese either (sorry all you Mexican food lovers).Nightshades (ie. tomatoes, eggplants and potatoes) shouldn't be eaten with dairy products. And lastly, don't cook with honey. Heating honey makes it toxic. So if you're going to add it to a meal, do it last, and make sure your food is out of the oven and off the stove.

8. Eat melons alone or not at all.
This one is so important it deserves a space of its own. Don't eat melons with anything! So no fruit salads unless it's all melons or no melons.

9. Eat your heaviest meal at lunchtime
As stated above, this is the time of day when your digestive fire is at its strongest. So instead of eating your biggest meal for dinner, as we Americans tend to do, eat it for lunch. Also, lunch is best consumed between eleven and one o'clock.

10. Eat your last meal, or snack, at least four hours before going to bed. 
We talked about this earlier. You don't want to fill your belly up with a lot of food and then go to bed. Your body wont digest it. So try to eat dinner at least four hours before going to bed. Believe it or not, waking up feeling sluggish can be caused by late night eating. If you're like me and tend to get "hungry" right before bedtime, opt for a warm glass of milk. You can spice it if you'd like. Just be sure to avoid nutmeg if you're prone to constipation, as it is a binding agent.

About The Author
Lizzy Straba
Lizzy Straba is based out of Albuquerque New Mexico, and offers Lifestyle Consultations and private Ayuryoga®  instruction. One of Lizzy's main goals is to provide Ayurveda to everyone. Lizzy succinctly explains, "It's super easy to feel like we're not good enough or that we don't fit into a certain mold and in turn deny ourselves something life changing. I want you to know that you don't need to be a yogi or a vegetarian or even a spiritual human being to benefit from the knowledge of Ayurveda. All you need is a willingness to improve your health."

To contact Lizzy Straba please visit her home page: Rogue Ayurveda  


How To Manage IBS Naturally

 

How To Manage IBS Naturally
For many people, the symptoms of IBS are so severe that they can’t even leave their home or have to plan their day-to-day activities around trips to the bathroom. There are nearly 60 million Americans who have disabling symptoms of IBS such as bloating, cramps, diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain only to have it dismissed as a “functional” or “psychosomatic” disease; disease caused by the mind. According to Ayurveda, the symptoms of IBS resemble most of what was described many thousand of years ago - a condition called “grahani”. “Grahani” is considered the seat of digestive enzymes [“Agni”] and if impaired, can lead to altered intestinal motility. The predominant symptoms of IBS are alternating diarrhea and constipation accompanied by abdominal cramps and is often referred to as “irritable” or “spastic colon”.

"Food As Medicine."

The Root Cause - Diet & Lifestyle
In conventional medicine, the cause of IBS is essentially unknown. According to Ayurveda, “grahani” or IBS is likely caused by a number of lifestyle factors such as improper diet, improper food-combining, stress, drinking too much fluid [especially during meals], or even suppressing natural urges. Ayurveda describes three doshas called vata, pitta, and kapha and we can think of these three doshas as the guiding principles that keep all our bodily functions balanced. However, due to imbalances caused by the above mentioned lifestyle factors [i.e. improper diet, stress, etc.] this can can affect the secretion of digestive enzymes and impair the digestive function [“Agni”]. Eventually, the by-products of impaired digestion form into toxins [“ama”] which then damages the lining of the intestines. The result is a decrease of intestinal transit time which can cause early evacuation of bowel contents [i.e. diarrhea] alternating with constipation, which is influenced by apana vata. Therefore, management of IBS is often centered around creating balance of vata dosha with emphasis on diet and lifestyle considerations.

Spice Selections To Improve Digestion
Ready-to-use spice mixtures satisfy the six ayurvedic tastes considered essential for balance. Organic Calming Vata Churna is a blend of seven ingredients, including cumin, ginger and fenugreek.

Organic Vata Calming Tea
That 'too-much-to-do, too-little-time' feeling can cause you to be on edge, restless, anxious. A few sips of Organic Vata Tea will help your whirling mind settle down and your body relax.

How To Treat IBS Naturally - Dr. Josh Axe

4 Steps to Treat IBS - By Dr. Josh Axe 
1) What foods to stay away from if you have IBS • Gluten- This inflammatory protein in grain can cause IBS. I suggest at the start of treatment to stay away from ALL grain products (especially wheat.) After about 3-9 months you can start to try adding in some sprouted or sourdough grains. • Casein or conventional dairy products- Kefir or fermented dairy can be helpful but regular dairy can be very destructive for IBS. • Hydrogenated Oils • Raw foods- salads & raw foods can damage the gut if you have IBS so it’s best to eat only cooked foods • Cold foods- Ice water, Ice cream & cold foods are hard on digestive system • Processed or refined/packaged foods

2) Top healing foods for IBS (consume foods that nourish the colon and spleen) • White immune boosting foods ⁃ Cauliflower, Garlic and Onions- Cooked onions and garlic can kill off bad bacteria in the gut • Squashes ⁃ Butternut, Acorn and Spaghetti Squashes are nursing to spleen and colon • Bone Broth- #1 superfood to consume to heal IBS ⁃ Bone Broth soup contains amino acid to help repair and heal in intestinal lining ⁃ A perfect meal would be a crockpot with organic meat, bones/broth, and vegetables such as squash and celery.

3) Quality Supplements • Live Probiotic Supplements • L-Glutamin- amino acid that protects & nourishes gut lining • Frankincense Essential Oil- reduces inflammation • Digestive Enzymes- take at meal to help break down food so it is easier to digest

4) Focus on reducing stress • Schedule 3 things daily ⁃ Long walk in nature ⁃ Read a spiritual growth book, meditate or pray ⁃ Wind down with a detox bath at night ⁃ 1 cup epsom salt and 20 drops oil (Lavendar) and soak away.

Stress Free Emotions
For natural resistance to emotional stress and fatigue; promotes emotional balance, positive feelings, and feelings of fulfillment. Emotional balance = strong mind & body

 

“Gut Health”
In order to be healthy, the microbial ecosystem in the gut must be healthy. If the gut flora becomes imbalanced this can become the root cause of many of the symptoms centered around IBS. For example, the gut flora promotes optimal digestive function, provides a robust immune response, regulates metabolism and even compromises more than 75% of our immune system. It’s extraordinary that the teachings of Ayurveda have stated much of these important functions many thousands of years ago. Of great importance is the consideration of bacterial overgrowth. In fact, JAMA - The Journal of the American Medical Association has acknowledged bacterial overgrowth as being a real syndrome which seems to correlate well with IBS.

Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus)
Supports digestive system and elimination; assists body in absorbing nutrients; high-quality antioxidant; wide range of benefits. Good health depends on strong, efficient digestion.

Herbal Di-Gest
Supports improved digestion and balanced appetite; helps with gas, bloating, and discomfort.

Ginger
Holistic digestive aid. It is a useful digestive aid; helps to maintain good digestion and balanced gas production

Factors which can disrupt normal gut flora:
– antibiotics and other medications
– diets high in refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods
– diets low in fermentable fibers
– chronic stress
– chronic infections

 

An Ayurvedic Perspective
The basic approach to improving IBS from an Ayurvedic perspective is centered around pacifying and reducing this quality of vata. Vata is often characterized as being dry, rough, cold and mobile. Therefore a simple approach in helping to pacify vata is simply to eat fewer raw vegetables and eating meals which are grounding and generally warm, soft, and easy to digest.

“Yep, that’s right. Fewer vegetables. Vegetables (as well as some fruits) are often high in insoluble fiber. While soluble fiber can be soothing for the gut, consuming large amounts of insoluble fiber when your gut is inflamed is a little bit like rubbing a wire brush against an open wound. Ouch.” – Chris Kresser; “Gut Health”

10 Golden Rules For Healthy Eating

Common Causes Of Ama:
The main cause for the formation of ‘ama‘ or undigested food material is impaired digestive function. Therefore, factors which impair digestion and increase the formation of  ama include:

– overeating and consuming cold substances
–  irregular eating habits
– overconsumption of raw food
– eating heavy and fried food
– incompatible food combining
– eating with extreme emotions [i.e. anxiety, stress]
– sleeping before food is properly digested

 

Takra [Buttermilk] - The Divine Healing Digestive Drink
Takra or buttermilk, is a liquid preparation prepared by continuously churning yogurt in water. This preparation increases your digestive power and is often used in many health conditions. Takra is considered beneficial for many G.I. conditions such as IBD and Crohn’s disease as well as poor digestion, hemorrhoids, tumors, edema, diarrhea, anemia, urinary diseases and many other health-related conditions.

“He who uses takra daily does not suffer from diseases, and diseases cured by takra do not recur; just as amrita [divine nectar] is for the gods, takra is to humans.” – Bhavaprakasha Chpt 6.7

ENEMA:
According to the teachings of Ayurveda, the seat of vata dosha is in the colon and the therapy of choice is a rectal enema [i.e. “basti”]. This procedure should only be performed under the guidance and supervision of a qualified ayurvedic professional after having discussed the risk/benefits/alternatives with your primary care physician. Ayurveda recommends introducing 1/2 to 1 cup of sesame oil into the rectum and retain the oil for approximately 5 minutes. This is thought to help pacify vata and helps to nourish and support optimal gastrointestinal function.

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.


Boost Your Immunity For The Winter

Boost Your Immunity For The Winter
Despite the immune system doing an incredibly remarkable job defending against disease causing germs - at times, it fails. The good news is that you don’t need to travel far in order to help boost your immunity. In fact, most of what you need is already right in your kitchen. The immune system is just that, a system. Therefore, in order for the immune system to function optimally it requires balance and harmony which can be established by lifestyle considerations such as proper diet, spices, herbal preparations, and finally - deep rest and blissful sleep. 

Immune Boosting Food
Winter is a season to eat plentiful nourishing and warm food to help enhance the immune system. Generally, the food we eat during winter season should be warming, nourishing, and mildly spicy. Likewise, we should avoid cold food and flavors which are excessively sweet, sour, or salty as these are all considered “kapha provoking”. Nourishing foods to consider are wholesome grains such as rice and couscous; sweet juicy fruits such as cooked apples or pears; squashes, zucchini, and asparagus, and vegetable proteins such as mung dhal.

5 Foods To Keep Your Immune System Strong

Mung Dhal Recipe

Ingredients
- ½ cup split mung dhal
- 3 cups water
- 1 teaspoon ghee
- 1 teaspoon “Organic Churna Spice Mix

Organic Calming Vata Churna Spice Mix
Ready-to-use spice mixtures satisfy the six ayurvedic tastes considered essential for balance. Organic Calming Vata Churna is a blend of seven ingredients, including cumin, ginger and fenugreek.

Organic Cooling Pitta Churna Spice Mix or
Ready-to-use spice mixtures satisfy the six ayurvedic tastes considered essential for balance. Organic Cooling Pitta Churna features coriander, cardamom and turmeric.

Organic Stimulating Kapha Churna Spice Mix
Ready-to-use spice mixtures satisfy the six ayurvedic tastes considered essential for balance. Organic Stimulating Kapha Churna includes ginger, coriander and turmeric.

Directions

  1. Heat dhal (dry) in skillet for 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Boil water separately.
  3. Add dhal, and stir briefly.
  4. Boil about 20 minutes, until dhal is tender — soft.
  5. Season with churna of your choice.
  6. Heat ghee. Add all seasonings and stir until they give a sudden burst of aroma.
  7. Then pour over dhal, stir once and cover immediately.
  8. Let stand covered for 5 minutes to absorb.

 

To Make Kichari:
Kichari is a very nourishing mix of both rice and mung dhal. To prepare, just follow the steps above for mung dhal, but add an equal amount of rice when you add the dhal. Other directions remain the same.

 

Spices & Herbs
In order to enhance the digestive fire [“agni”] and help prevent the formation of toxins [“ama”] consider cooking your food with immune-enhancing spices such as cumin, fennel, coriander, turmeric, ginger, garlic, and black pepper. Likewise, certain herbal formulations such as Herbal Di-Gest will also help to enhance digestion and consider Herbal Cleanse at night if feeling constipated.

Amrit Kalash Ambrosia
Amrit Kalash in the morning is great to help keep your energy and immunity intact and is especially beneficial during winter season. Amrit Kalash is a traditional ayurvedic formula of 13 herbs that supports the health of mind, brain, and nerves; increases vitality and inner strength; powerful antioxidant — research shows it to be up to 1,000 times more effective than vitamins C and E

Full-spectrum antioxidant: targets mind & nervous system

  • 1000x more effective in eliminating free radicals (the root cause of aging) than vitamins C or E1
  • powerful food for the brain
  • significantly boosts immunity & vitality
  • best taken with Amrit Nectar
  • vata, pitta, kapha balancing (vpk®)

Other Recommendations:
Bio-Immune tablets, Sniffle Free tablets, and Cold Weather Defense tablets are all immune-enhancing herbal supplements that you can take during the winter season to prevent respiratory problems.

Bio-Immune is a powerful supplement that strengthens neuro-immunal responses, purifies the liver and blood, and dissolves ama and amavisha. Take one tablet of Bio-Immune each morning and evening to enhance overall immunity.

Cold Weather Defense offers nutritional support to strengthen the body's natural immunity. It regulates fluid balance and mucus in the lungs and sinuses; removes toxins and shleshma from the lungs, and cleanses the microcirculatory channels that have been blocked by ama. It boosts immunity and removes toxins that weaken resistance.

Sniffle Free is aimed more at the upper respiratory system, and bolsters the body's natural resistance to the cold. Sniffle Free helps clear the channels, and when that happens, shleshma can be drained from the body. It strengthens the digestive fire, balances the production of moisture and mucus, improves resistance to cold temperatures, and enhances the bioavailability and circulation of vital nutrients.

 

Lifestyle

Oil Massage & Warm Bath
It’s especially important to maintain inner warmth during winter season and there is nothing better than a warm bath which helps to open the pores and help regulate the body’s internal thermostat. Likewise, a daily ayurvedic massage before a warm bath helps to open the bodily channels, remove toxins, and help pacify the doshas [vata-pitta-kapha] all which help to strengthen the immune system. It’s important to note that an oil massage is NOT recommended if you already have an acute infection as this may worsen the disease process.

Organic Sesame Oil
Enhance immunity and experience a sense of well-being. Our pure golden Sesame Oil is organic, extra-light, chemical-free and cold-pressed, allowing its chemical composition to penetrate the deeper layers of the skin.

Sleep
Getting adequate sleep is important for anyone and for any season who wants to enhance immunity and resist disease. Therefore, you may want to consider taking Blissful Sleep if you have trouble falling asleep (a Vata disorder), or Deep Rest if you wake frequently, especially between 2:00 and 4:00 a.m. with energy (a Pitta disorder).

“Your first line of defense is to choose a healthy lifestyle. Following general good-health guidelines is the single best step you can take toward keeping your immune system strong and healthy. Every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when protected from environmental assaults and bolstered by healthy-living strategies.”
- Harvard Health Publications

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.

Your Happiness Is A Reflection Of Your Health.