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The fire element, according to Ayurveda, is associated with the Pitta Dosha and the sun.
With its radiance and power, fire is at the seat of life, a catalyst for the spark needed to ignite, create, and evolve.
We rotate around the sun, offering the very brilliance needed for life to flourish. Without fire, life would cease to exist. It is important to stoke your internal fire for optimal health, clarity of mind, and connection to higher consciousness, lighting the pathway to liberation.
In Ayurveda, there are many types of fire, or referred to as Agni in Sanskrit.
Fire is the foundation for assimilation and transformation, with its sharp, hot, light, and spreading qualities. The most important Agni that Ayurveda focuses on is Jathara Agni, the fire that governs digestion. “You are what you eat,” and how you process what you eat affects your overall well-being.
Why is digestion so important?
How, when, where, why, and what we eat influences our body, mind, and spirit.
If our digestive fire is strong, we can process and assimilate what we eat, creating healthy tissues, such as lymph, blood, muscle, fat, bone, bone marrow, and reproductive organs. Our biology is regenerative, meaning we continue to cycle through organic phases of transformation, rebuilding tissues throughout our life.
These amazing bodies are the temples that house our mind and soul, our journey of embodiment, and how we create this material form influences every aspect of our lived experiences. With digestion being connected to fire, this, in turn, burns off impurities, clearing the pathways for mental clarity and emotional freedom. Fire lights the path for consciousness to awaken, connecting our human experience to higher awareness and wisdom.
If the digestive fire is weak, we cannot burn off impurities, process the material, and transform it. This creates a buildup of toxins in the tissues and in the mind. Our tissues lose their integrity over time and can affect any bodily system. The unprocessed material can cloud the mind, causing aggravation, irritability, anxiety, and loss of clarity. Digestion should work optimally, not too fast, not too high/hot, not too irregular, and not too slow.
These types of digestion may also look like this: too fast, loose stools, too high/hot, burning, irregular, constipation, and bloating. Too slow, sluggish, and tired after meals. When the digestive fire is not healthy, it affects our intelligence, vitality, longevity, and we lose sight of our power to activate and illuminate our dharma.
The vitality of our food choices is also important and translates to the integrity of our tissues, mental influences, and emotional intelligence. Prana, our life force or vitality, is available and present in our nourishment—fresh, local, organic, and seasonal whole foods are best. The closer the food is to its original form, the more vitality it has.
Try avoiding frozen, processed, packaged foods, and leftovers. The best practice is to prepare meals fresh daily and eat leftovers within 24 hours.
Recommendations for a healthy digestion
1. Avoid snacking throughout the day and eat whole meals instead, allowing the food to fully digest before eating again.
2. Eat only when hungry. This ensures that there is a digestive fire ready and available to receive food and transform it.
3. Eating fruits offers important nutrients for the body. However, they are quick to digest, so try eating fruits at least 30 minutes before or after main meals and do not mix with other foods.
4. Eat fewer foods that are hard/heavy to digest like fried, oily, raw, and cold foods, and definitely don’t overeat them.
5. Digestion likes it warm, so it is best to avoid cold drinks straight from the refrigerator or with ice. Cold slows down digestion. Try room temperature to warm beverages to support healthy digestion.
6. Say a gratitude prayer before eating, practicing mindfulness, an invitation to be fully present and aware. When you eat, just eat with no screens, no emotional conversations, no standing, no walking, and no driving.
7. With digestion being connected to the sun, when the sun is at its highest point in the sky, digestion is also the strongest. So try eating the largest meal for lunch.
8. When the sun is just rising or setting, the digestive strength is lower as well. It is best to eat smaller meals for breakfast and dinner.
9. Tune in, check in, and listen to your body. It will help guide you to understand what is aligned and what isn’t working.
Your fire, your digestion is your light to becoming your highest self.
Make sure to stoke your fire, burning off the impurities that do not serve you.
Be devoted to your capacity to create a clear path to awakening your consciousness and allow your daily practices to be a reflection of that commitment.