During the last weekend of my Yoga Teacher Training at Charlotte Yoga, I had a friend come in and introduce my trainees to Ayurveda. She recently completed a year-long 300-hour training through The Shakti School to become an Ayurvedic wellness coach. She also has a degree in health promotion and nutrition from App State.
I’ve touched briefly on Ayurveda before but as a refresher, Ayurveda is an ancient healing science that originated in India thousands of years ago. Its focus is on promoting good health and wellness through harmony of our internal and external worlds. Ayurveda empowers us to take responsibility for our health and well being and gives us tools and guidelines for healing from the inside out. Ayurveda believes that by making simple changes to our daily routines (think food, sleep, self-care), we have the power to change how we feel.
Lyndsay’s presentation sparked so much thought and discussion among our group. Ayurveda is always a popular topic in teacher training and I think it goes hand-in-hand with much of what we cover in regards to living a yogic lifestyle. It makes sense that the more mindful we are about how we eat, sleep, move and take care of ourselves, the better we feel.
There is a lot that I could share from Lyndsay’s talk but I’m going to focus on one takeaway that resonated so hard.
“Everything that we take in has to be digested.”
We don’t just have to digest what we eat. We also have to digest all the things we hear, see and feel on a daily basis and I think we can all agree that it can be a lot sometimes.
Lyndsay said that we can become emotionally constipated in the same way that we become physically constipated. I’ve talked several times before about how much what I’m feeling emotionally impacts my gut so what Lyndsay was saying made a lot of sense to me. If you have a lot of stressful, negative, heavy or toxic crap in your life, it increases the burden on your digestive system.
Let’s dive deeper.
I shared this snapshot on Instagram of a handout that Lyndsay gave us and had so many women DMing me asking what to do if they have these symptoms.
These symptoms point to a dampened metabolic fire. In the yoga and Ayurveda worlds, we often refer to fire as Agni. In Ayurveda, this Agni is what transforms and assimilates what we are taking in…whether it’s food, daily life events, emotions or thoughts. When your Agni is dampened, it’s common for digestive issues to manifest because we lack the fire needed to “digest” food and life.
Lyndsay provided us with many helpful tips for boosting your belly fire and I’m going to share my five favorite tips with you.
5 TIPS FOR BOOSTING YOUR DIGESTIVE FIRE
- Prepare and eat food with love. Try not to cook or eat in anger, fear, haste, etc. as that energy will go into the meal.
- Try beginning meals with a few deep breaths and a personal prayer or “grace.”
- Think of eating as a form of celebration or meditation. How we eat may be even more important than what we eat. Make sure to connect with the SACRED aspect of eating. You are literally taking in the atoms and molecules of other living forms and asking them to integrate into your body, and help you serve your destiny. Very spiritual stuff, this eating thing!
- Avoid TV, reading, the computer, phone, devices or other forms of distraction. Can you share a meal with a friend? Can you eat outdoors? Can you look out a window?
- Do NOT drink ice water with your meals as it dampens and destroys digestive fire.
For the purpose of this post, I primarily focused on the tips that relate to being present to food, cooking and eating and the energy you have around it. I TRULY believe that our relationship with the food that we are putting in our bodies is almost (if not just as) important as what we are putting in them. If there are layers of distraction, guilt, anxiety, hurriedness that go into our experience with food…that’s just giving us so much more to digest.
I hope this post gave you some things to think about. I get asked constantly about food and diet and the Ayurvedic approach to nourishing our bodies with well-intentioned food, while minimizing distractions, negative energy and things we have to emotionally digest, is one that really aligns with my style of intuitive eating.
I can’t end this post without giving Lyndsay a big shout out.
I have personally witnessed Ayurveda change Lyndsay’s life in the most incredible ways. She is currently accepting new clients (and works remotely via Skype!) so I encourage you to check out her Ayurvedic offerings.
If you like what you read today and would like to learn more about Ayurveda, let me know in the comments.
Have you heard of Ayurveda?
Do you struggle with any of the symptoms above or digestion in general?
Do you sit and experience the meal you’re eating or are you distracted while eating?