Agni means fire and -according to ayurveda and my teacher Dr. Lad- is the main source of life. You are as old as your agni he says! With strong agni you have a long life, strong digestion, strong immunity and strong discernment and intellect. Spiritually, Agni is said to bridge the lower and higher levels of consciousness and is the bridge between body, mind and consciousness. In Vedic mythology agni has two faces, one of creation and one of destruction. Agni is in charge of both new cellular creation as well as cellular destruction. It is also the force behind our individual constitutions and states of mind, the force behind our personalities. If our agni is robust and healthy it brings passion to our life.
On a larger level, Agni is conceptualized in ancient Hindu texts to exist at three levels, on earth as fire, in atmosphere as lightning, and in the sky as sun. This triple presence connects him as the messenger between gods and human beings in the Vedic thought.
I believe it is through our agni that we become embolden enough to reach for the hairiest of dreams, that we have the resiliency to fail and persist, and through which we can glimpse the possibility that lies in the unknown. This is the stuff of magic! Thankfully, Ayurveda provides us some very simple tools to help keep our fire strong and lasting.
Here are 7 things we can do to maintain our health, vitality and step into the reality of our dreams.
1. Start a daily mediation practice
This can be very simple. As a busy mama I love the insight timer app. I lay down in bed and listen to topic specific guided mediations as I unwind from the day. Start with 10min per day and slowly work up to 20min twice a day if possible. If it’s not – THAT’S OKAY! Even 10 minutes will bring you much nourishment and calm.
2. Move your body for 20 minutes every day
You can do this in any way that fits your life. A walk around the block, a simple yoga practice, to an ass kicking session in the weight room…it all works. I’ve even been known to simply run around playing hide and seek at the park to fit it in. Here’s the thing, don’t make excuses. When they come up – challenge yourself to find the solution- your agni will thank you for it!
3. Eat good food and not too much
Focus on seasonal and clean foods. Ayurveda says a proper portion for a person should fit in the palms of the hands when bringing the pinky edge of both hands together like a bowl.
4. Hydrate between meals with room temp water
Drink most of your water between meals. When drinking with a meal, simply take gentle sips of water to aid digestion. This keeps your digestive juices strong. Think of a fire- what happens to it when you douse it with a ton of water? Yup- It goes out! When drinking water or other beverages try to skip the ice. This also wipes out agni and it takes it several hours to regain its original strength.
5. Eat your largest meal at lunch
This allows your body (and your agni) to do its work in cleansing and repairing while we sleep. If we eat heavily at dinner we tax ourselves by taking that vital energy and spending it on digestion instead of healing.
6. Take trikatu or fresh ginger tea with meals
These herbs can be very helpful at stimulating agni and aiding digestion. They can be especially nice in the winter time when things tend to feel colder.
7. Eliminate Regularly
If we are not eliminating regularly, toxicity can build and begin to put out our fires. This is called ama in ayurveda. It does the exact opposite of agni- creates imbalances, disease and mental lethargy and suffering. If you find yourself struggling to achieve proper elimination you can try triphala tea before bed to help.
If you feel you would like individualized support in rebuilding your agni or reducing lethargy and fatigue a personalized consultation can be extremely effective at bringing you back into balance by looking at the specific ways your agni may need support. Once we get agni burning bright- so does the rest of our lives!