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Agni, Ama & Ojas

Agni, Ama & Ojas

Agni is defined as the digestive fires in the body and is the cornerstone for all health.  It controls all metabolism, including digestion, absorption, and assimilation, transforming mental clarity, intelligence, sensory perception, discrimination, and reasoning.  When Agni is healthy, it supports strong immunity, metabolism, and homeostasis, creating balance in all systems.


The quality of Agni depends upon one’s doshic constitution and the current state of health, and each of the doshas has its digestive qualities, which can upset this balance. Vata’s airy, light, and dryness can create irregular (Vishama) Agni, whereas Pitta’s heat and sharpness create excessive (Tishama) Agni. For Kapha, digestion can be (Manda) Agni, characterized by slowness and dullness.


When digestion is strong and efficient, all ingested nutrients, vitamins, and minerals are absorbed from the intestines into the blood, which inhibits nutrient absorption and leads to the formation of toxins (Ama), which causes Poor digestion disease.


Ama is un-metabolized waste that the body cannot utilize.  Small amounts are normal, but it is believed to be the root cause of disease when in excess. Once it spreads into the deeper tissues, it clogs cell membranes, weakens immunity, and leads to disease.  The first signs of ama are a coating on the tongue, sinus and lymph congestion, constipation, fatigue, heaviness, and mental confusion.


There are many reasons why ama starts to accumulate, but improper Agni is always part of the problem. The main culprits can be overeating, improper food combining, excess of heavy and fried foods, cold and raw foods, and sweet or processed foods. Other factors are stress, anxiety, insomnia, lack of exercise, and irregular eating habits, including sleeping with undigested food in the stomach.


Ayurveda uses the five sense therapies to bring balance and harmony. With ama, a reduction is achieved with detoxification (Panchakarma), body and steam therapies, increasing pranic activities, aromatherapy, and food, herbs, and spice choices.


 Ojas (OH-jas) is the life sap. It is understood as it relates to vigor (energy and strength). From a spiritual and emotional level, it refers to our expression of consciousness. It governs overall health, immunity, energy, mood, sleep, digestion, spirituality, and physical strength.


Ojas is the most refined and pure by-product of our digestive process. As the food is digested, assimilated, and eliminated, nutrients are absorbed and transformed into the seven Dhatus (tissues) that make up our bodies. The purest and most refined Ojas are stored in the reproductive system (to give life) and in the heart at the end of digestion.


Excessive activity and stress can deplete Ojas, creating free radicals that cause damage. Practices that build Ojas include love, acceptance, service to others, light-heartedness, laughing, and passion for life. A personal exercise regime and/or yoga, pranayama, and meditation practice nourish the body, mind, and spirit. Spend time in nature, rest properly, rejuvenate, and eat fresh, wholesome, and Sattvic foods.


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