Aggravation of the doshas can dramatically affect the digestive fire, or Agni, in the human body. According to Ayurveda, the condition of the digestive fire determines the health of our entire being, which is why it's important to monitor how well your inner fire is burning.
When the digestive fire is disturbed it generates toxins, also known as Ama. A number of things can trigger the absorption and generation of those toxins in the body, including:
Deep tissues, nerve channels, and major organs are the places these toxins end up being deposited. Once they are at rest in these places, they begin to generate bodily dysfunctions and the development of various diseases. The toxins spread throughout the body, eventually settling in where they find an environment ideal for them to generate even more toxicity.
The beauty of Ayurveda is that it gives you the framework to modify your lifestyle and optimize your bodily functions. These things are described as Ritucharya, which means the ways and means to be followed in different seasons, and Dinacharya, which is the ways and means to be followed from morning to night.
If illness occurs, Ayurveda recommends remedies based on herbs, minerals, and other therapeutic procedures such as Panchakarma. Panchakarma focuses on the active releasing of toxins from deep cells and tissues, and is usually given after a stringent detoxification diet has been followed.
Proper cultivation of the inner fire helps to lay a sound foundation for a very long life. Without awareness, the body can burn too hot or too cold, and eventually you will end up with a rather tight, sore, and frail body frame in old age—one that doesn't have the ability to hold up for much beyond 80 years.
Anytime we feel hunger, this is a sign that the digestive fire is blazing. When our hunger flags and the fire weakens, then our digestion suffers. Food is not assimilated and toxins accumulate in the body.
Eating too much or eating too little can lead to imbalance. You can suffocate the inner fire by overloading it or you can snuff it out by underfeeding it. Even drinking too much will extinguish the inner fire. It takes quite a while to get it going, keep it stable, and then maintain it at the slow burn that keeps the body in perfect balance. Patience is key to stoking your inner fire.
Sweating is the indication that your body is burning off bacteria, virus, or other forms of invasion or infection. Toxins leave the body through sweating, so it’s a necessary part of detoxifying the body.
Having a strong digestive fire means having a healthy immune system capable of sweating out toxins that you might be accumulating.
Cultivation of the fire element is at the core of a spiritual practice. Fire is the element under a practitioner’s persistent desire to meditate. The inner fire can rise to a subtle level that makes it possible to invite the solar or lunar light into the eyes with a beneficial result. Seekers know when this has occurred as the body begins to feel physically light—as though the body has very little weight to be carried.
Ayurveda and cultivating a balanced inner fire teach us how to live and age with dignity and grace, to establish a healthy lifestyle, and to become a balanced human being
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