What is a healthy digestion according to Ayurveda?
According to Ayurveda, a strong digestive system is the basis of good health. This ancient medical science believes that almost all diseases in this world arise due to poor digestion. When the digestive system is healthy and functions optimally, it keeps the doshas in balance, prevents many diseases, and eliminates pre-existing health issues.
Before we discuss how to release bloating naturally, let’s understand the principles for good digestion in detail.
Ayurveda considers Agni, Ojas, and Ama to be the three main principles for digestion. Agni is the Sanskrit word for Fire. In the human body, Agni is the digestive fire responsible for all the transformations and digestive processes. When this biological fire is in the right proportion and functions well, the digestion of all food particles happens efficiently. Agni also plays a very important role in the absorption of nutrients and the elimination of all digestive wastes.
Ojas, also known as the fluid of life, is the goodness of the food we consume. According to Ayurveda, when the Agni is balanced and functioning properly, it increases Ojas. To enjoy the most purified product of the food we consume, the Agni must complete its cycle of digestion, absorption, and elimination properly. With the increase in Ojas, the energy, immunity, and vitality of the human body improve and we start leading a better life.
However, when our digestive fire is in excess or functions improperly, it forms Ama, which is also known as toxins. According to Ayurveda, all the diseases in the human body occur due to Ama. With an improper diet, lifestyle, stress, and anxiety, both our mind and body go out of rhythm and start accumulating Ama. In the long run, this Ama causes different physical and mental illnesses.
What can cause bloating?
In ayurvedic terms, bloating, which is a swelling of the abdominal area, can be caused by a weak Agni or too much Ama. Our belly often blows up if food cannot get digested well which causes gas. This gas is also ama. So bloating can be caused by ama and can produce ama.
Bloating or ama can be caused by the following:
- Eating too fast
- Eating when you are not hungry
- Eating after 9 pm
- Eating heavy and fatty food
- Eating raw or uncooked food which is difficult to digest
- Cold food and drinks
How can I release bloating?
There are a couple of natural things that help with bloating.
Yoga & Exercise
Yoga poses and gentle movement can help you to release gas naturally. You can simply go on a 15 minutes walk after a heavy dinner and will feel better. Or you can try our Bloating Relief yoga class on YouTube
Great yoga poses to relieve bloating are
- Wind Releasing Pose
- Yogi Squat
- All twisting poses
- Seated Forward Bend
- Bow Pose
- Supported Bridge Pose
Find more poses for a better digestion here.
- Drink warm water with cardamom after your meal
- Use triphala (a mixture of 3 medicinal fruits)
- Chew a few roasted fennel seeds or ginger after a meal
- Drink caraway tea after a meal
- Lay down and take deep and slow breaths into your belly
- Give yourself a gentle belly massage with or without oil
How to prevent bloating
It’s even better to not get bloated in the first place. Here are a few of my favorite tips
- Eat slowly and mindfully (e.g. reduce distractions like watching TV)
- Eat light, warm, and freshly cooked food
- Take breaks while you eat and put the fork down
- Avoid late-night meals
- Drink 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after you eat, not during your meal
- Eat smaller amounts
- Chew thoroughly
- Use digestive spices like cumin, ginger, fennel or hing
- Use healthy fats like olive oil or ghee
I hope these tips will help you. You can find more tips for a good digestion here.