How to Build Your Digestive Fire using Ayurvedic Techniques
Your digestive fire is one of the most important functions of your body. Modern science has only just begun to understand the importance of our gut flora and proper digestion. Our stomach has even earned the title of the “second brain.” While more studies support the relationship between our emotions and the health of our digestion. Ayurveda suggests that most diseases originate in the stomach and later migrate to manifest in weakened tissues. As we move into the winter months, your internal fire naturally increases, making this an ideal time to focus on building your digestive fire. Step into your power by harnessing your internal fire.
You can learn how building your digestive fire can ignite and fuel your most purposeful and intentional life.
How does Ayurveda define our body’s digestive fire?
This article will cover building the fire within the body, later articles will discuss the mind, the soul, and combining the three to live in your highest potential.
Agni is the fire element that governs all transformation in our body. To understand how to cultivate a strong internal fire, we must know what its role in the body is first.
Agni is responsible for the following.
- Skin health
- Blood health
- Mental clarity
Ayurveda advises us that the health of our agni is directly related to the following.
- Overall strength and vitality
- Our disease resistance
- Our very existence of life
Without a balanced agni, how could we possess the vital energy needed to lead a life of purpose?
Increasing Qualities of Agni
Decreasing Qualities of Agni
Simple Ways you can Build your Digestive Fire
How do I know if my digestive fire is functioning well?
How do I regulate and build my digestive fire?
Eat all three meals at the same time each day.
What if I intermittently fast or skip meals?
What can I do to improve my digestive fire?
- You can drink a warm 8 ounce glass of water upon waking up with a squeeze of lemon to activate your digestive system for the day ahead.
- You can also put 1/3 tsp of each seed (cumin, coriander, and fennel) in 8 ounce hot water and drink this tea 30 minutes before each meal to stimulate digestion.
- Eat your food well seasoned with spices like pepper, ginger, cardamom, coriander, fennel, turmeric, nutmeg, clove, celery seed, cumin. These herbs have specific properties that not only increase digestive fire, but also mineral absorption. Using spices also helps stimulate your appetite.
What foods should I be eating to build my digestive fire?
- It is best to stick with easy-to-digest foods that are warm, moist, well-seasoned, freshly prepared, and produce that is in season.
- Raw vegetables are difficult for your body to digest and can actually decrease your digestive fire if eating in excess. According to the Ayurvedic teachings around digestion, it is often best to eat vegetables that are lightly steamed or sauteed.
What should I avoid eating?
Different foods have different rates of breakdown, and therefore it is not recommended to eat fruits with any other food items. This is also why melons should be eaten solo and not accompanied by even other fruits. Some incompatible foods are dairy with meat, fruits, or sour foods. In fact, meat is best eaten with only steamed or sauteed vegetables, avoid eating with rice, other proteins, and starches as they are difficult to digest.
How should I be eating my food?
- Proper digestion relies on having the space within your stomach to go through the transformation process.
- Eat until you are half full, one quarter filled with room temperature water, and one quarter empty.
- Avoid eating and drinking cold items at meals, as this will reduce the agnis ability to digest your meal.
- About one of your hands made into a fist represents ½ of your stomach size and the approximate amount that will sustain our body.
- Eat your meals in a silent space with no distractions.
- Be sure that you are sitting for the duration of your meal.
- Make your meal time a ritual that gives the highest respect to the foods you are nourishing with and your intention behind eating those foods.
- After meals, avoid immediate activity and create a least 20 minutes of intentional rest so that your body can focus all its energy on digesting the meal you just consumed.
There are endless ways to cultivate, maintain, and embody an optimal internal fire.
When your digestive system is thriving, you will have the power and drive you need to show up as your highest self.
Leading a successful life starts with a strong physical fire.
Embrace your inner fire one meal at a time.
Are you ready to build your internal fire through empowered living?
Shanel holds an Ayurvedic Practitioner Certificate from the Southern California University of Health Science with over 2000 hours working in the clinical setting including Pançakarma therapies, mentoring under skilled and experienced Ayurvedic Vaidyas (doctors). She has been serving her community through yoga, Ayurveda, body therapies, and the healing sciences for over 10 years. She is the owner of Cali Veda LLC ayurveda wellness for intentional living and offers coaching, consultation, and educational workshops.
Shanel developed a deeply personal and intimate relationship with yoga ?sana 20 years ago. Being immersed in a culture of “sev?” and community-centered approach she created an integrative yoga experience for K-12 students. When working with students and the community as a whole, she guides participants to develop their own relationship with their body outside of the “modern” social setting of a yoga studio through simple and approachable movements. Her service is rooted in inclusive opportunities for underserved communities. Shanel has facilitated multiple retreats and out of the country experiences for groups.