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Ayurveda: What’s Your Digestive Type? Get Your Agni Balanced.

Ayurveda: What’s Your Digestive Type? Get Your Agni Balanced.

The Power of Digestion in Ayurveda

Ayurveda’s aim is to have a long, happy and healthy life. The key to it is our metabolism, as all diseases have its origin in an imbalanced metabolism. The metabolism is therefore the central point we need to take care of if we want to restore health. The term metabolism refers commonly to the breakdown of food and its transformation into energy. As a result, we metabolise everything that we drink and eat, and the substances that we do not need anymore are eliminated. This process is the basis for our body to maintain itself.

According to Ayurveda we need a harmonious and functioning digestion to stay healthy and to prevent illnesses and imbalances. It is about strengthening our digestive fire, Agni, or also ensuring that it does not become too strong. In other words, we want to bring our Agni into optimal balance.

The four Types of Agni

In Ayurveda, we assume that everyone was born with an individual constitution. This constitution is unchangeable, but it may very well be in balance or not due to our habits and lifestyle. This type of constitution is called Prakriti and defines a person’s unique constitution in balance. However, if we get into an imbalance, we call it Vikruti. Therefore, we want to find out what we currently have too much or too little of, in other words, if our digestive fire is too weak or too strong.

Agni is located in the solar plexus area, the 3rd chakra, in the small intestine area. We want to eat things that burn clean and smooth. Then we experience a glow. If that is not the case, we can experience bloating, headaches, skin impurities, gas and other symptoms of digestive issues.

Without Agni it would be impossible to digest food and emotions. Consequently toxins can accumulate in the body and mind if our digestive fire does not burn optimally.

 

Agni is the main source of life and if you worship Agni, you will be blessed with perfect health. – Dr. Vasant Lad on Ayurveda

 

Ayurveda talks about four different states of Agni: regular or optimal, irregular, too intense, and too slow and weak.

1. Sama Agni: optimal / balanced digestion

Sama Agni means that the Agni is burning hot and clean. If we have a normal and optimal digestion, we have a complete bowel movement once or twice a day. The bowel movement is an important factor in assessing our digestive fire. When you have a complete emptying you know it. The stools have the consistency of a ripe banana, shaped but smooth and soft. Ideally, you should empty yourself within an hour of getting up, without using coffee or other home remedies.

Other characteristics of an optimal digestion are that you feel energised throughout the day. This Agni type has no afternoon low and no digestive discomfort. The immune system is stable and the mind is clear and alert. They are fueled from the inside out.

2. Vishama Agni: variable and sensitive digestion

This type is prone to digestive irregularities due to an erratic fire. The digestion is not steady, but fluctuating. Sometimes it is too fast and frequent, maybe even liquid. Sometimes it is too slow, sometimes too hard and often too seldom. The dosha associated with this type is Vata. When Vata gets stirred up in their mental body, it starts to affect their digestion. The energy from the digestion centre moves up in the brain and is missing in the digestion organs. As a result, Agni is too cold and the food cannot get properly digested. This digestive type often suffers from irregular hunger, weak immune system, and frequent digestive disorders such as: bloating, constipation, indigestion, digestive pain and cramps.

Also travelling and erratic eating patterns affect this Agni type. They often suffer from food allergies and intolerances. Furthermore they feel easily nervous, insecure, unworthy, worried and unprepared.

The bowel movement of Vishama Agni is marked by:

  • often dry and hard, small pieces, rabbit pellets
  • suffering easily from gas
  • bloated belly
  • dark colour and a strong smell
  • sometimes less than once per day or incomplete defecation
  • changes between diarrhoea and constipation

You don’t know your Dosha? Then take the Dosha quiz and learn more about your unique body constitution.

3. Tikshna Agni: too hot and too quick digestion

When we have too much heat in the system, our digestion runs fast or even too fast. It’s like you put oil on a fire. This digestive type often struggles with thin and loose stools due to a digestive fire that is too hot. There is too much bail in the system. The digestion process is too quick and the nutritions cannot be properly absorbed and malnutrition can occur. They sometimes have 3-5 bowel movements per day. This leads to constant hunger and they can eat huge quantities.

In addition to that there might occur: diarrhoea, heartburn, hyperacidity, gastritis and stomach pain. These people get easily hangry. When they are hungry, they need to eat something very quickly, otherwise they can get easily grumpy. We often find here very intense people who tend to impatience, irritability, frustration and over-working.

The bowel movement of Tikshna Agni is marked by:

  • often soft, unformed and diarrhoea-like
  • more than twice a day
  • a lighter colour, sometimes even yellowish
  • a strong smell

Sign up for my free “7-Days to Boost your Metabolism” course and learn the basic principles of Ayurveda for a properly functioning metabolism. Find better sleep, boost your immune system and have a strong digestion.

 

4. Manda Agni: slow and sluggish digestion

The sluggish digestion of Kapha constitutions is characterised by too little digestive fire. The stomach is too wet and they extract too little from the food. Therefore, they often need less food than the other two doshas, ​​which is very difficult for them because of their love for food. The weak digestive fire cannot digest large amounts of food. They are not very hungry, but often have a big appetite. Due to the sluggishness of their digestion, they tend to feel full and heavy after eating.

The lungs are right next to the stomach. As a result, there can be a lot of congestion, trouble breathing, mucus in the sinuses and even vomiting of salvia. This type easily get overweight, obese, congested and is prone to seasonal allergies. Feelings of sluggishness, depression, sadness, overthinking, lethargy, drowsiness and brain fog can be present.

The bowel movement of Manda Agni is marked by:

  • often slowly and less than once a day
  • possibly with mucus
  • sticks to the toilet bowl, the need of a lot of toilet paper
  • is light brown and clay-like

What you can do

An important step to a healthier body is to become aware of our bowel movements. All of this may sound strange at first, as we are not used to talk about bowel movements in our society. However, it is an important tool to find health in Ayurveda. It gives us a lot of information about what is currently not working properly. This helps us to see what we need to do in order to regain health.

If you want a deep dive into Ayurveda to embody daily habits that promote mental clarity, overall ease and let you thrive in your body for a lifetime, discover my online health and lifestyle program “Thrive & Shine”.

Overcoming Emotional Eating with Mindfulness

Overcoming Emotional Eating with Mindfulness

Emotional Eating – Feeding your Feelings

I am sure you know that: Eating out of boredom, stress, anger, sadness or other emotional reasons. We sometimes eat without being hungry at all. Many of us turn to the comfort of food to numb out uncomfortable feelings. We try to fill emotional needs, rather than our stomach. Unfortunately, emotional eating doesn’t fix emotional problems and usually makes you feel worse.  Do you sometimes feel like you have no control over your eating habits, as if someone else sits in the driver’s seat?

Emotional eating could also be translated as unconscious eating. This “other part” who takes over control within you is the subconscious, which determines around 95% of our actions and decisions. Therefore, nutrition plans and good intentions are all well and good, but as long as our unconscious is programmed differently, it will always mess with us.

In recent months I have noticed how important this topic is for many people from the participants in my online program Thrive & Shine. And I know it from myself, from the time when I ate so much chocolate that I almost felt sick. That doesn’t feel good at all.

An holistic approach

Ayurveda and Chinese medicine have many helpful recommendations, for example how to reduce hunger for sweet things. By dealing with the energetic effects of food (what cools, what warms, what gives energy, what moisturises …) my clients learn to feel more into their body and to understand its signals. More and more, they find the diet that really suits them and is good for their unique body constitution and keeps it healthy.

Nevertheless, for me a part was missing to really help people with the subject of “emotional eating”. I found some tools in the teachings of mindfulness. If we start to develop more mindfulness in our daily life, we can overcome unhealthy eating habits much easier. It’s really wonderful to experience!

5 characteristics of emotional eating

  • You feel bad after eating.
  • You eat without being hungy.
  • You eat a lot of things that are not good for your body.
  • You often feel guilty about eating.
  • You feel like you can’t control yourself while eating.

Important: If you eat unhealthy things every now and then, it is not emotional eating! The question is how do you feel about it.

With the following 6 steps you can start immediately. Have them at hand next time you are tempted …

6 steps to start overcoming emotional eating

  1. Before you start to eat, pause and take a few conscious, deep breaths. Observe why you want to eat.
  2. Feel in your body: What are the sensations? (e.g. stinging in the shoulder, rapid heart beat, feeling tense and angry, etc.)
  3. Acknowledge these sensations (aha, my heart is beating very quickly right now) and send a few loving thoughts to this point (dear heart, I feel you and I am there for you).
  4. Ask yourself: What am I feeling right now? (e.g. restlessness, tension, impatience) Ask yourself: What feelings are hidden behind restlessness? (e.g. fear, loneliness, anger, boredom)
  5. Acknowledge these feelings and stay with them lovingly for a while (restlessness, ok, I am with you). Breathe consciously and continue to feel your body.
  6. Now decide if you still want to eat. If so, consciously enjoy each bite and try to eat more slowly than usual. Take a break in between and ask yourself again how and what you are feeling. Be the loving observer of yourself and get to know yourself better without judging or criticising yourself.

This process is about becoming aware of what is happening. The nice thing is that we do it without any pressure. So the goal is not to never eat anything unhealthy or have cravings again! We just want to be more mindful and get to know ourselves better. We do this primarily by slowing down the process and feeling inside our body.

Even if you only feel inside yourself for 10 seconds at the beginning before you eat the bag of chips, this is a wonderful first step! And a week later, it’s maybe a minute and you’ve already observed some feelings and sensations. Just by observing, sensing and understanding what is actually happening, a lot already changes. Repeat these 6 steps over and over and practice noticing your sensations and feelings. You will be surprised what that does to your eating habits!

Podcast: An Ayurvedic and Yogic Approach to a Healthy Menstrual Cycle

Podcast: An Ayurvedic and Yogic Approach to a Healthy Menstrual Cycle

Ancient menstrual wisdom from Ayurveda and Yoga

Ayurveda and yoga are sister sciences and provide us with tools that can help build resilience to the hormonal imbalances we are so prone to.

The woman’s menstrual cycle plays a major role in Ayurveda. If you go to an Ayurveda doctor or consultant, you will be asked questions about digestion and as a woman as well some questions about your menstruation cycle: Is the cycle regular? What colour is the blood? Are there any complaints before, after or during the menstruation? A woman’s cycle has a huge impact on life and wellbeing. The monthly bleeding is a cleansing phase for the body.

A lot of functions in our body are controlled by hormones, which is why it makes sense, as a woman, to be more concerned with our own cycle. In Ayurveda, the different phases of the cycle are determined by different doshas. ​​As a result, they have an effect on the physical and emotional level. Hormonal balance is crucial for being fertile and having a good pregnancy.

What you’ll get out of tuning in:

  • Understand your Ayurvedic menstrual cycle (three phases of Vata, Kapha & Pitta)
  • One tip for each phase of your cycle
  • How can we connect to our womb energetically, mentally or physically
  • Sound to activate second chakra and why the second chakra is related to fertility & hormones
  • Tips for better digestion & sleep
  • How can Embody to Thrive help a woman become more fertile?
  • One book recommendation that helps understand our female bodies better

Favorite Quotes:

Vata is the force that regulates all downward movements in the body, pushing the menstrual blood down and out of the body.”

“The womb is a sacred space where sensuality, intuition and creativity of the universe originate.”

“By learning how to direct energy to our womb and fertility centres, we can restore the juiciness and vitality that was otherwise lost.”

Tune in


Spotify

Apple Podcast

Are you interested what Chinese medicine has to offer for a healthy menstrual cycle and to boost fertility? Then tune into my other podcast episode here.

Do you want a better and more aligned life to achieve deeply desired results? A life with more energy, a peaceful mind, and habits that go toward lifelong health and wellness?

Discover my online health and lifestyle course Thrive & Shine. 

Is your metabolism balanced? What are the signs of a healthy metabolism?

Is your metabolism balanced? What are the signs of a healthy metabolism?

What is metabolism? Is your metabolism in balance?

Good metabolism, poor metabolism, too slow, too quick, … The word metabolism is often used – and is often misunderstood. Because metabolism is not the same as digestion.

The metabolism is the basis of all vital processes in the body. Metabolism is roughly understood as all biochemical processes that take place within the cells. In other words: The components of the supplied nutrients are metabolised in the cells.

Enzymes, hormones and nutrients regulate the metabolism. As a result, everything that you eat and drink is broken down and converted by the body. If all metabolic processes run smoothly, the cells live in peaceful harmony.

Bad lifestyle habits can lead to metabolic disorders such as: diabetes mellitus, overweight, thyroid diseases e.g. hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, other hormonal and mental imbalances and diseases. A healthy lifestyle prevents and helps to boost the metabolism.

What are the signs that your metabolism is out of balance? Here we go …

  • You have difficulties to fall asleep, and you wake up feeling tired and sluggish.
  • Your hormones are imbalanced and you suffer from menopause, fertility or menstrual problems.
  • In the afternoon you can barely keep yourself from falling asleep.
  • You need coffee to get started in the morning and some alcohol every now and then to calm down and relax in the evening.
  • You regularly crave things that are actually not good for you.
  • Your immune system is weakened.
  • You have blemished skin or other skin problems like psoriasis, rosacea, …
  • You have a thick coating on your tongue.
  • Your bowel movements are not as we would like them to be (read more about that further down).
  • You have a bad breath or bad taste in the mouth.
  • You have undesirable retention of water in the tissues.
  • You are quickly stressed and often do not feel balanced.

Do you recognise yourself here? I am often surprised and dismayed that many people don’t notice these signs because they consider them normal. Because others feel the same way. According to Eastern medicine, none of this is normal!

Let’s take a closer look at your bowel movement. When they are out of whack,

  • Your bowel movements are irregular and you may suffer from diarrhoea, constipation or hard bowel movement.
  • You empty your bowels more than twice a day or not every day.
  • Your stools have a strong smell or sticks to the side of the bowl.
  • You sometimes have heartburn or stomach pain.
  • You have air in your stomach, you have to burp, you have gas or a bloated belly.
  • You sometimes have attacks of hunger pangs or loose your appetite.

These are all concrete signs that your metabolism is out of balance.

In my online program Thrive & Shine you will learn to differentiate more precisely which sign stands for which imbalance, so that you can optimally counteract this.

You will establish simple new routines that help regulate your metabolism and, above all, how you can integrate them into your daily life.

How do you feel when your metabolism works optimally?

  • You have an appetite for the things that are good for you and that keep you in balance.
  • You fall asleep easily and wake up refreshed in the morning.
  • You have your feel-good weight and you like your body.
  • You have a consistent energy throughout the day, even in the afternoon.
  • You have a strong immune system and can quickly counteract if it gets out of balance.
  • Your hormones are balanced – no menopause, menstrual or fertility problems.
  • You have glowing, rosy skin.
  • You are emotionally balanced and feel grounded.
  • Your concentration and focus improve significantly.
Does this sound good to you? We strive for all of this in my program Thrive & Shine.

In this health and wellness journey you will start to sleep better, jump out of bed refreshed in the morning, get better skin, balanced hormones, more energy and don’t get sick as often. You will start treating yourself more lovingly and suddenly have the strength and motivation to follow your desires and dreams. And much more…

I would like you to feel the best you can and to discover yourself in a way that gives you all the tools you need to live a healthy and mindful life. I want you to have access to your true nature. Your potential. And from there it is much easier to live!

Take a look at Thrive & Shine and book your Free Discovery Call with me.

This program combines ancient Eastern medicine wisdom, modern behavioural sciences and coaching in a dynamic international group.

Ayurveda & Chinese Medicine: Benefits of Drinking Hot Water

Ayurveda & Chinese Medicine: Benefits of Drinking Hot Water

Why is drinking hot or warm water recommended?

Nothing is as simple and effective as drinking hot water. Some even speak of a hot water cure. Tap water is simply boiled and Ayurvedic’s and Chinese medicine’s remedy no.1 is ready.

Drinking hot water helps to easily flush out any toxins in the body. It can help to balance all three doshas. And what I really like: hot water removes toxic metabolic waste byproducts from your body and mind! It couldn’t be easier to avoid illness. Because in Eastern medicine it is said over and over again: If your digestion runs smoothly and your metabolism functions optimally, you stay healthy!

Hot water penetrates all the fine channels of the body, especially in the digestive tract.

Hot water dissolves ama and dampness from the cells

Hot water washes everything away where metabolic waste products are stored. These waste products are called ama in Ayurveda and dampness in Chinese medicine. They are the toxins in the body and form the basis of every disease. They are a result of a weak digestive fire “Agni”. Warm water can activate Agni and stimulate bowel movement, and helps digest food more easily.

This is why drinking hot water is so important for staying healthy. Because the undigested remains in your body causes discomfort, minor ailments or even severe diseases. However, if you drink hot water on a daily basis, you support your body and mind in detoxing everything that it doesn’t need anymore.

But not only ama is flushed out, also the water-soluble toxins that you ingest through food and the environment are removed by drinking hot water.

Hot water – your source of happiness

Ayurveda and Chinese medicine recommend drinking hot water throughout the day. It’s not the amount that matters, but the regularity. A great idea is e.g. to put hot water in a warming jug in the morning. All my friends only ever know me with a pot of hot water. I won’t leave the house without it.

Water is also digested

Did you know that water also has to be digested? It doesn’t just run right through you, no, it really gets digested. By the way, cold water takes about 6 hours to digest. Whereas hot water only takes 1.5 hours. As a result your digestion needs less energy for digesting hot water and you have more energy for doing other things.

Since water is also digested, you shouldn’t drink too much after 7pm. The result of drinking too much too late can be restless nights, waking up because of the need to go to the toilet and the formation of bags under the eyes (this area reflects your kidneys).

Natural Detoxifier And Healing Agent

Drinking hot water on a daily basis has many health benefits. Among them are:

  • Improves blood circulation
  • Removes fat deposits in the body
  • Flushes out toxins and ama
  • Strengthens Agni, the digestive fire
  • Helps relieve constipation
  • Improves your energy
  • Relieves nasal congestion
  • Helps relieve symptoms of achalasia (the esophagus has trouble moving food down into the stomach)
  • Improves skin
  • Helps to relax the body’s muscles
  • Improves central nervous system function
  • Avoids eating and snacking due to false hunger
  • Sharpens the sense of taste

If you want to loose weight more easily, drinking hot water can support you along the way. It reduces the need for snacks, improves fat burning and supports detoxification!

How much hot water and how hot is good?

Incidentally, the amount of water in Ayurveda depends on your constitution. Pitta types, the fiery among us, need lots of water to soothe their inner fire. By the way, the hot water should be lukewarm for Pitta types. However, Kapha types need much less hot water, because Kapha is already consisting half of water. And the dry Vata type can handle a medium amount of hot water, about 1.5 litres. Living Ayurveda means: listen to your inner intelligence! It will tell you how much and how hot the water should be.

Hot water for your Dosha type

Depending on your constitution, you can “season” the water.

Those who tend towards Pitta constitution and often have cravings, inflammations, skin outbreaks and problems with heartburn and belching, should not drink their water too hot. The heat that is associated with Pitta is otherwise increased. For Pitta constitutions, lukewarm water is more suitable, in which a few fennel seeds, rose buds, mint leaves or a clove can be added.

Vata constitutions on the other hand, have a tendency to changing appetite and thirst and deal with irregular digestion, can drink their water hot. Because they often tend to freeze easily and have problems with dryness. They can add something oily like ghee to their water and simmer it with liquorice or marshmallow roots.

Kapha types should drink the water warm to hot in sips throughout the day. They can add some basil leaves, slices of fresh ginger, 1/4 teaspoon of cumin and fennel seeds. This can help boost their sometimes slow and sluggish digestion.

Thrive & Shine

Do you want a better and more aligned life to achieve deeply desired results? A life with more energy, a peaceful mind, and habits that go towards lifelong health and wellness?

Discover my online health and lifestyle program Thrive & Shine

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  • faster metabolism
  • healthier immune system
  • faster weight loss

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