Agni, superfoods and vitamins
In the last blog I spoke of how we are what we digest not what we eat. Continuing on that theme…
In Ayurveda it is important to know who you are (prakriti) and what the digestive power of your gut is. Vata, Pitta and Kapha all have different digestive strength when in a balanced and when in an imbalanced state. When your AGNI is not functioning properly many toxins or ama are produced. The first clue to this imbalanced state of your gut is Ajeerna or indigestion.
If you are like most people, you probably have a cupboard with a collection of vitamins and super foods. You take them on a semi-regular basis and the cue to taking them is something in your body is feeling off or you have developed a condition. Did you think about the possibility that these vitamins and superfoods are not helpful to you?
Unknowingly you take your vitamins and supplements assuming that they are doing good things for your body but…only if the agni or digestive fires (and there are many of them) are sama or balanced will the assimilation of that cupboard full of vitamins and superfoods be digested of any use to you and produce any positive result. If you have ajeerna or indigestion, by not following the rules of Ayurveda eating, those superfood and vitamins will causing a negative effect called ama in your body and your mind. Then what you think is good for you is actually created more of an environment for disease. This ama can be created at any level, your gut level, your tissue (dhatu) level or your cellular level and the deeper it moves into your system the more chance there is for systemic health issues.
So what do you do before taking those vitamins and superfoods. My first suggestion is to see a qualified Ayurveda professional to help you assess your prakriti, vikriti, agni and ama. If this is not something you choice to do then here are some suggestions.
Start by paying attention ( be mindful) to the signs you body is giving you after you eat or drink anything. You can start by putting down your phone and turn off the TV when eating. Many times, not paying attention has you running to the drugstore for antacids, medication for constipation ,diarrhea, burping and even dry tongue! Another suggestions is eat until 75% full and not over or under eating. To cook without sauces , sugars and processed ingredients and see if you can taste the sweetness of a carrot and be especially mindful when it comes to foods you eat that you know are not agreeing with you and your digestive process and you continue to eat them. this last concept is one of the main causes of disease in Ayurveda.
In our Western society, we don’t always have names or concise explanations for how things manifest in our life or in our body. Sometimes lack of appropriate language can seem like a barrier for describing how we feel. This is especially true when we communicate about mental health and personal behavior patterns that impact our quality of day to day life, or when we try to understand our own behaviors within ourselves. If you have ever felt mentally paralized and frustrated when rationalizing daily behaviors or habits that don’t serve you, or if your mental health is suffering because of these poor behaviors, then the Ayurvedic concept of Prajnaparadha may be just where you can find some clarity. is a stain against natural intelligence
Prajnaparadha is described as “an offense against wisdom”, and in Ayurveda is considered one of the three roots of all dis-ease. We all experience this phenomenon in our daily lives, of knowing what we should be doing, but willfully doing the opposite.
We all have the choice to live with a higher consciousness or not. For some, there is a daily call to lift themselves higher; for others, it is a gentle knock on the door that they choose not to open. I think that most of us wish to open it; we wish to be healthier, kinder, more compassionate, more loving, less judgemental and more tolerant- towards ourselves, our bodies and others. Above all, we seek a version of ourselves that can make the most of this fragile, beautiful life, overcome its obstacles, and embrace its gifts, whilst accepting its brevity. We begin by listen to the innate wisdom in all of us.
We can all think of prajnaparadha as a reminder that each day is an opportunity to liberate ourselves from self-imposed restrictions.