Agni, Your Digestive Fire

August 04, 2020

The digestive fire in the intestines is the root of all the digestive fires in the body. As it causes the increase or decrease of elemental and tissue digestive fires, it should be treated with great care.
 - Ashtanga Hridaya Samhita

Ayurveda, the ancient Indian Vedic culture, regards the digestive system, agni, as the essence of health and well-being. Impaired agni, on the other hand, is at the root of imbalance and disease. Agni is a metaphor for our ability to take in and assimilate aspects of life. Igniting, tending to, and stoking our own sacred fire, empowers us to digest life as it is, not as we wish it to be.

Agni, Sanskrit for fire, is revered in Ayurveda as the very source of life. One is only as old as one’s agni and when agni is extinguished, one dies. This correlation between vitality and fire extends into our ability to face challenges, physically, emotionally and spiritually, with grace and determination. When agni is strong, we don’t allow past “meals”, undigested experiences, to hold us back or create discomfort.

Kindle agni with a short brisk walk before eating. Drink warm water each morning and 20 minutes before meals to cleanse and hydrate your body, awakening your digestive capacity and dramatically improving digestion. After eating, take a full, deep breath before getting up and moving on to the next activity in your day. Inhale gratitude, softening your belly in samtosa.

Agni is hot, sharp, dry, light, mobile, subtle, luminous and clear. Experiences and substances rich in these qualities strengthen and support agni. Exposure to the opposite qualities weaken and disturb it. Eat healthful whole foods mindfully. Avoid too many cold drinks, which can dampen and extinguish the heat of the digestive fire. Eating when emotionally triggered, bored, or thirsty also disrupts the natural essence of agni.

Throughout history, humans have revered fire for its light, warmth, and ability to cook food. Agni evokes the dynamic nature of fire - that which is alive and breathing versus its inanimate form. It’s the transformative energy, which unifies, nourishes and expands our consciousness. Practice and light up the dark.


Zia Estrella l Mukha Yoga
By Zia Estrella; All Rights Reserved @2020

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