Which Ayurvedic Gut Type Are You?
- 20 Jun, 2019
- Written by Jacqueline Iles
It's not only the foods that we eat that are fundamental to our health, but also how our body is able to digest and assimilate our food.
Ayurveda believes that a major cause of all diseases is an impaired digestive system. This can be caused by taking of improper foods, emotional disturbances, stress, skipping meals, overeating or an ongoing imbalance in the doshas.
Knowing your body's digestive systems tendencies will give you greater awareness of what is happening in your body. And, awareness is the catalyst for change...right?
Agni, literally means fire or a transforming will or force. It is your digestive fire, the power that generates your appetite and your ability to digest.
We have 13 main Agnis, (and some sources state that there are 40 types of Agni in the body). The primary one that I’m writing about today is located in the stomach and upper small intestine.
I like to think that every cell has its own little Agni that gives that cell intelligence, the power to digest nutrients and remove wastes.
Agni has 4 possible states. It can be in balance, in excess, low or variable.
When Agni is balanced we have a normal and regular appetite and feel easily satisfied after eating.
Next is low Agni called Manda Agni. This is more common in Kapha individuals; who have an abundance of the Earth and Water elements.
With low Agni it is important to allow the strength of appetite to grow, allow the fire to be kindled before eating. It is good to leave longer gaps between meals. In other words only eat when you are actually hungry. Avoid emotional eating and mindless snacking!
Our body is always moving towards a state of health. Sometimes we just have to get out of the way!
The third type of Agni is excess Agni or Tikshna Agni.
It is more common in the fiery Pitta individuals whose digestive fire ore easily runs too high. This creates a feeling of continual hunger, of wanting to eat frequent and large meals, yet one feels a lack of satisfaction. There is often a sour taste in the mouth, heartburn and diarrhoea. Skin rashes are common.
Eating spicy foods is like adding fuel to the fire. If Agni is high avoid strong spices like chilli and black pepper, but take bitters such as aloe juice.
The last gut type is Variable Agni or Vishama Agni.
There is an excess of gas and bloating with pain in the umbilical region and lower abdomen. Dry and hard constipation is a common side effect as the excess wind/gas dries the bowel.
To regulate variable agni it is important to eat regular, but easy to digest meals. Porridge, soups and dhals are easy to digest and don’t further weaken Agni but allow it to restrengthen and balance.
So, which gut type do you identify with?
Or, is your Agni low and your appetite sluggish and metabolism slow?
In reading this you may have noticed that the symptoms of each type of Agni is balance by bringing in the opposite qualities to what is experienced.
High Agni need cooling foods and temperance.
You can think of your Agni as a little camp fire that wants to be tended, revered as the life giving source of energy that it is and enjoyed!
It does not want to be left alone for long periods as it will falter and go out. It does not want too much wind to buffet it about. It does not want heavy, hard to burn or damp fuel put on it and make it smoulder. Not does it want you to pour petrol on it!
This little fire wants to be tended regularly. It wants to be set in a space free from too much wind or flammable ingredients; it wants good quality wood (food), and it loves your gentle and loving attention.
Your body is trying to communicate with you. Tune in….listen and feel how your digestion is each day.
Variable digestion will manifest as bloating with too much of the air energy in the system. Or acidity and inflammation increases when the fire energy
is increased. And loss of appetite and heaviness occurs if the energy of earth and water increases in the gut.
Rather than being overwhelmed by all the information out there or following the latest diet trend you can trust your body’s wisdom and know how to care for your gut type.