Most of us associate our metabolism with weight loss and weight management.
We also know that our metabolism plays a vital role in our bodies breaking down the food we eat so that we can feed our tissues with the micronutrients from the food.
In the west, most of us desire to have a ‘quick metabolism’ thinking that this will ultimately lead to a slim physique.
What we don’t often realise is that a ‘quick metabolism’ isn’t always serving us for our higher good, sometimes a ‘quick metabolism’ runs too quickly to digest the food, assimilate the nutrients and absorb them into our tissues.
Ayurveda puts great emphasis on achieving a BALANCED metabolism.
I would like to shed some light on our Metabolism and how important it truly is through the Ayurvedic lens. You see our metabolism is so much more than what we seem to understand of it.
According to Ayurveda Metabolism can roughly be translated to Agni (in particular Jatharagni) which means ‘Digestive Fire’.
However, the term ‘Agni’ has a much broader definition in ayurvedic terms so before we continue to speak mostly about the ‘digestive fire’ (JatharAgni) I would like to explain the concept of Agni first.
What is Agni?
Agni governs ALL transformation that takes place in the mind and the body. It is the driving force for the way in which we metabolise every thought, feeling, emotion, food, drink, and toxin.
There is a long list of transformations/metabolic actions that take place in our bodies and minds every second. The effectiveness of these transformations depends on the health, strength and balance of our Agni.
This list includes, but is not limited to our digestion, sense of perception, mental and physical assimilation, absorption of nutrients, absorption of information, metabolism of food, hormones and thoughts.
Agni is responsible for taste, touch, and hearing.
Our vitality, rigour and clarity are also dependent on Agni.
Our glowing complexion, clear skin and bright demeanour are because of a balanced Agni.
This shortlist is evident of how important having a balanced Agni is.
Jatharagni – Digestive Fire;
Ayurveda has put much emphasis on Agni Bala (The strength of our biological fire) for thousands of years and recognises that our Agni, and in particular our Jatharagni (digestive fire) plays a vital role in maintaining balance in our body and assisting all other bodily systems to function at their optimal capacity to produce Ojas (Vitality) and Tejas (intelligence).
According to Ayurveda, Sama Angi (which means balanced Agni) is one of the most important factors contributing to good health and wellness.
There is a strong correlation between our digestibility and the way in which our immune system functions, hormones are produced and energy is sustained. What Ayurveda has known and taught for thousands of years, modern science is now coming to the forefront with proof of these ‘theories’.
What might a balanced Agni look like?
Someone with a healthy Agni would have healthy glowing skin, a balanced appetite with symptom-free digestion.
They would be attracted to the right foods and assimilate the nutrition from the food which nourishes all of the cells in their body. They would have a healthy immune system and a stable weight appropriate for their body type. They would be mentally intelligent with clarity and peace of mind. They would have a natural joy in life and a positive outlook. Someone with a healthy Agni is usually living a sattvic lifestyle.
What might an imbalanced Agni look Like?
A person with impaired Agni may have discoloured dull skin and appearance.
They may be sunken and dark around the eyes as they are not assimilating the nutrition from the food that they eat. They may be overweight and feel heavy or sluggish.
They can have a variable, slow or fiery digestion and complain of gastric upset such as bloating, constipation or loose stools, indigestion, pain & gas.
Their mind may be dull and slow or anxious and irritable. They can suffer from poor sleep and frequent colds/sickness due to a low immune system.
Why is a balanced Agni important?
An imbalanced Agni will not allow for the breakdown of nutrition to happen in an optimal way so that it can nourish the dhautus (tissues) of the body. The undigested waste turns into toxins (ama) & can accumulate in the digestive tract. Accumulation of toxins (ama) can cause inflammation and increased gut permeability, leading to a leaky gut.
The toxins (ama) can enter the circulatory system where it is sent to the liver to detoxify or move to other tissues throughout the body. When ama is moved to tissues this creates an environment where disease can manifest.
Signs ama is present:
1. White or coloured coating present on the tongue
2. Waste elimination of the body (such as sweat, urine & faeces) starts to have a foul odour
3. You may feel heavy, sluggish, low energy, poor concentration and a foggy mind.
4. You suffer from gut-related issues such as IBS, bloating, cramping, constipation, loose stools & food sensitivities
5. Pain, stiffness or disease within the mind/body
One of the easiest ways to help balance your Agni is to get into a really good daily routine, eat healthy nourishing foods, have regular meals & eat at the same time each day, lunch being the biggest meal of the day and dinner being a light soupy dinner.
Take time to not only nourish your body but also nourish your soul.
Move daily, eat mindfully and learn about how your body functions.
Notice the signs and symptoms that your body is giving you and respect the communication that your body offers you daily.
A balanced Agni is vital for living your healthiest & most inspired life.
If you would like to strengthen your Agni, heal your gut, balance your hormones and cut the overwhelm I would love to help you. Book an Ayurveda & Integrative Health Consultation with Harmony: www.HarmonyInspiredHealth.com.au