Immunity and Agni according to Ayurveda at The Best Retreat in Rishikesh
Immunity and Agni according to Ayurveda at Veda5, The Best Retreat in Rishikesh, India
The current scenario of world health can easily make Vata Dosha rise in the body, creating feelings of anxiety, overwhelm and fear. These feelings can ultimately weaken the immune system and leave us even more vulnerable to disease. Luckily, we can all utilize the traditional healing system of Ayurveda to help regulate our stress response and keep the immune system strong and resistant to pathogens that lead to the common cold, flu and now, the coronavirus. This ancient wisdom offers excellent preventative health care protocols, which empower all of us to take an active role in our health and wellness.
Ayurveda explains that in order to maintain a strong and vital immune system, Agni (digestive fire) must be balanced, Ama (toxins) eradicated and our Ojas abundant. What we especially love about Ayurveda is its strong focus on preventative medicine versus the western or allopathic medical approach which most often addresses an issue once disease has already arrived.
We encourage you to take this opportunity to prioritize your daily self-care and hygiene practices in order to strengthen your immune system, as a precautionary measure to protect yourself from the current health scare and any future health epidemics to come. In this article, we will learn how to balance Agni for improving immunity.
Balance Agni for a Healthy Immune System
One of the secrets to a healthy immune system is a healthy Agni. Agni is the Sanskrit term for fire. The healing tradition of Ayurveda teaches that health and well-being depends upon our ability to digest everything we take in from the environment. This includes not only tangible substances like food and drink, but also our experiences, emotions, and the impressions we take in via our sensory portals, namely our eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin. Agni is the Sanskrit term for the “digestive fire” that breaks down the food and other things we ingest from the environment, assimilating what is useful, and eliminating the rest.
There are countless Agnis in the body but the most important Agni is called Jatharagni, also known as our digestive fire. Located in the stomach, Jatharagni is the most important because it affects all the other Agnis. When we ingest food, Jatharagni metabolizes what we eat by producing hydrochloric acid in the stomach which breaks down food. During digestion and metabolism, Jatharagni transforms food into vital nutrients and enzymes while also deciding what is not useful for the body, expelling it as waste. Ultimately, our body uses the produced nutrients and enzymes to generate internal heat as well as provide nourishment for the tissues and cells of the body. This is why, Ayurveda views proper digestion as one of the Three Pillars of Life, and improper digestion to be the root cause of all disease.
The Agni which digests food (Jathara Agni) is regarded as the master of all Agnis because increase and decrease of other Agnis depend on the digestive fire. Hence, one should maintain it carefully by taking the wholesome food and drinks properly, because on its maintenance depends the maintenance of lifespan and strength.
Signs of a healthy Agni:
- Steady appetite
- Daily elimination or bowel movements
- Little to no coating in the back of the tongue
- No digestive upset before, during or after meals
- Steady weight
- Strong immunity (have not been sick)
Signs of a high Agni:
- Hyper-acidity, heartburn and/or smelly gas
- Loose stools
- Sharp body odour
- Acne and/or blemishes, especially in the t-zone
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Anger and/or irritability
Below are signs of low Agni:
- Low appetite
- Digestive upset such as nausea and lethargy after eating
- Constipation due to slow peristaltic action in the colon
- Congestion in the sinus region
- Clammy and/or congested skin
- Cystic acne
- Difficulty waking up in the morning
- Lethargy & feeling unmotivated
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, you may be experiencing an imbalanced Agni. The long and short of this is that you want an Agni that is not too high and nor too low. Agni that is too high may result in weight loss while low Agni results in Ama, or a build-up of toxic residue in the body. High, low or variable Agni results in the tissues of the body not receiving the vital nutrients they need to function optimally. This ultimately impairs how you feel overall and can weaken your immune system.
- Say NO to ice water, this puts out your Agni or digestive fire.
- Use a copper tongue cleaner to expel Ama from the tongue & stimulate Agni.
- Drink warm lemon water throughout the day to alkalize the digestive tract & stimulate Agni.
- Drink Veda5 Ayurvedic Digestive Tea 30 minutes prior to your meal to restore Agni.
- Grate a small piece of ginger with a squeeze of lemon and ingest before your meal to stimulate Agni.
- Incorporate culinary herbs like cumin, coriander, turmeric, fennel and cardamom into your cooking to aid in proper digestion.
- As much as you can, eat fresh food, organic if possible.
- Including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, they are abundant in prana or life force energy.
The Ayurvedic concept of Agni allows us to expand the conversation into answering the most important questions: “Why did the body begin to improperly digest, or not tolerate, this food?” and “How can we both eliminate the offending agent and concurrently increase Agni or digestive power?” This approach opens up the possibility of re-introducing the food at a future time, allowing the person to fully experience foods again.
At Veda5, we will help you to tap into this inner light, awaken the energy that lies dormant in the abdomen and pelvis with the help of Yoga and Ayurveda. We will introduce you to ayurvedic concepts that support and build your Agni, and that can be easily incorporated into your day-to-day lifestyle. You will clear away stagnation and congestion, access your vital energy, and recharge your body and mind.
The preventive measures described in Ayurveda against diseases indirectly results in boosting up the immunity of the individual. So, let us have a close look how Veda5 will help you to boost up the immunity.
Importance of Trayopasthambha (Ahara, Nidra & Brahmacharya) – A balanced diet, sufficient sleep, and celibacy are the three pillars of health. At Veda5, we will teach you how nutrition will help you to increase immunity. We provide Satvic food which helps you to increase your Agni. Agni-Digestive fire is the base of your health and longevity and hence give due importance to it by taking care of your diet and lifestyle habits. You will get to find out your prakriti and food choice according to Ayurveda. Ayurveda meals and cooking practices helps your way towards perfect health.
Veda5 follows Dinacharya and Ritucharya – Ayurvedic literature explains the daily and seasonal regimen to be followed for maintaining optimal health and prevention of diseases. Here you will live Ayurveda daily life which start early morning or as soon you wake up. There is series of rituals explained in detail in Ayurveda literature like cleaning your tongue, nasya, oil pulling, yoga, meditation, etc. It is also based on dosha timings and dosha seasons.
So at Veda5, you will not only live this life changing moment, but also learn all these fundamental Ayurveda concepts of Healthy living.
Veda5 offers rejuvenated therapies, balya oushadhi and Panchkarma shodhan – There are various Rasayana formulations and medicines that help improve immunity which is unique to Ayurveda. Ayurveda advocates purificatory therapies according to seasons and Balam of the individuals. Administering the same with a Physician’s advice is highly recommended.
You will leave Veda5 feeling refreshed, open and energized, and ready to launch into your life with renewed confidence and clarity.
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You’re welcome to contact us for more details. Veda5 looks forward to serving you soon!