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By Nadia Marshall
I went surfing the other day for the first time in a while. I had everything going against me... stormy skies, rain, cold, rough seas. What was I thinking? I confess... I had a friend visiting from Victoria who was used to surfing in far worse conditions than these and I didn't want to look like a woos. So I mustered up all the courage I could find and went out with the boys, despite my better judgement...
But the biggest thing I had going against me was a full belly. Kester and I had had a late lunch after a morning in clinic which I hadn't digested yet. It had been a good hour since we'd eaten so I was following the rules my Mum taught me about not swimming straight after eating... but I was still digesting. So... I couldn't paddle! All the blood that I needed in my muscles was in my belly, helping with my digestion.
After about 10 minutes this changed... my body eventually recognised the imminent danger of huge waves, the blood quickly moved from my belly back to my muscles and I was firing on all cylinders. But I stopped digesting. I felt terrible for the whole surf... full, belching, bloated. Yuck.
Which got me thinking.... TIMING IS EVERYTHING when it comes to digestion. First of all, it is important to give your AGNI (your digestive fire) enough time to digest before you engage in vigorous exercise... for the reasons described above. Better still, exercise vigorously BEFORE eating rather than after eating. It is also important to shower BEFORE eating for the same reasons - because when you shower, the blood moves away from your belly towards your skin (which is why you turn pink). If you shower or bath after breaky or after dinner, you'll immediately mess with digestion...
And second, it is super important to eat at similar, regular times each day. Your AGNI, in many ways, is like a dog. When it anticipates foods, it starts to salivate. And... it likes routine. It is always trying to work out the eating routine so it can anticipate the food coming and prepare itself accordingly. If you don't feed it on time, it gets confused and out of whack. Interesting, one of the main reasons listed in Ayurveda for Pitta going out of balance is 'not eating on time'.
So... if you want to enjoy the benefits of Balanced Agni (and believe me, the benefits are enormous) then it is really, really important that you spend just a little effort each day planning ahead so that you eat ON TIME, at a regular time each day. Just try it... and feel the difference that it makes.
Agni - the digestive fire.
Ama or Aama - undigested food waste, toxins.
Ojas- the foundation of our immune system and longevity.
Dhatus - the tissues of the body.
Srotas - the channels of the body.
Vata - the air/ether
intelligence in the body.
Pitta- the fire/water
intelligence in the body.
Kapha- the water/earth intelligence in the body.
Sattva- the quality of purity, intelligence, peace and love.
Rajas- the quality of
turbulence and activity.
Tamas- the quality of
dullness, darkness and inertia.
Rasa - the taste of a food (Sweet, Sour, Salty, Pungent, Bitter, Astringent)
Virya - second level of digestion (either Heating or Cooling)
Vipaka - third level of digestion, the deep taste of a food (can be Sweet, Sour or Pungent)
Prabhav - the 'special effect' of a food or herb/spice
Rasa - also the name for plasma tissue
Rakta - blood tissue
Mamsa - muscle tissue
Meda - fat tissue
Asthi - bone tissue
Majja - nerve & bone marrow tissue
Shukra - sexual reproductive tissue