Your Eyes can Talk

The concept of eyes in Ayurveda goes way beyond the physical organ. Netra or the anatomical eye is only a tool for the Chakshu indriya (the actual sense ability) which is deeply linked to Mana (mind) and Buddhi (intellect).


That being said, both the Netra and the Chakshu-indriya play an important part in the physical and mental health of a person.


The physical appearance of Netra is used as a reliable tool for Ayurvedic diagnosis as its very quickly gives away the prakruti (doshic constitution) and vikruti (doshic imbalance) of a person.


An individual born with a Kapha prakruti often has big, soft eyes and long lashes. They may have good sclera or coating on their eyeballs. Their eyes give them a compassionate and sexy appearance. Often, the whites below their pupils is visible. 

A Kapha imbalance however, (vikruti) presents itself as sticky secretions from the eyes that are usually white. A person with excess Kapha may also feel their eyelids get heavy quickly and are also prone to sleep longer. A triphala wash usually works well as a remedy for eyes that are loaded with Kapha.


If born with a Pitta prakruti, a person usually have sharp almond eyes of medium size. Their eyes may even be of a lighter color than their family members. When they look at an object, their gaze is focussed and penetrating.

A Pitta imbalance in the eyes presents itself usually as red eyes, with our without a burning sensation. Allergens like pollen, dust and mold can easily inflame the eyes. A pitta imbalance may also lead to red conjunctivitis and repeated sties in the eyes. Washing the eyes with rose water regularly can prevent the onset of pitta symptoms.


An individual with a Vata prakruti usually has smaller eyes. They have a hard time keeping their gaze fixed as their mind is a wandering one.

A Vata imbalance however, presents itself as extremely dry eyes. Their eyelids too may tend to droop due to lack of muscle tone. The solution to Vata eyes is using an Anjana made from Ghee and regular Netra tarpan practices.


The Netra also have the ability to give you insight into an individual’s mental state. Dilated pupils mean that a person is alert, often ready to take on a challenge or focused on a task at hand. As a person becomes calmer, his eyes can become more soft and milky. Similarly, when someone is ready to fight or in the state of anger, you may notice his eyes becoming red as his capillaries swell up. When a woman or man is sexually aroused, the eyelids become heavy and often the white under the pupils are visible.


The Chakshu indriya (the sense of sight) and its connectedness with the mind and intellect determines a persons perception. When seeing worldly objects and events leads to desire and lust, it can be said that the eyes are being used in the most primitive fashion. However, when you allow the netra to see, but the chakshu indriya to just observe with equanimity, you are truly able to put your eyes to their best use and tap into the third eye or the subconscious mind.


The Ayurvedic Food Rules

Somehow the Ayurvedic sages could foretell the problems pertaining to food that we would be facing today, 5000 years after the origin of Ayurveda. The Ahar Vidhi Visheshayatan or Rules for Consumption of Food talks about important factors relating to the consumption of food. These factors can help us assess whether the food consumed will lead to health or disease. These principles enlisted are timeless and extremely relevant to our current lifestyle.

  • The original nature of the food item – Prakriti – Before we consume any type of food, we must understand its basic properties. In Ayurvedic terms, this would mean its Rasa (Taste), Virya (Whether its action is cooling or heating), Vipak (effect post digestion), Gunas (basic properties) and Prabhav (special effect). For example, the rasa of wheat is sweet, its virya and vipak are cooling, its gunas are that its heavy and nourishing and its prabhav is that is helps to build tissue. Upon understanding this, once can safely say that wheat is a good food for a child who needs to build muscle and fat but may be too heavy for someone suffering from a cold or obesity.
  • Processing – Sanskar – How a certain food item is processed can change its effect on the body and thus some foods need to be processed. This does not include machinery processing  as that is almost always contraindicated. Ayurvedic shastras have specifically mentioned these processes – 


  • Cooking (Agni Sanskar) – Mostly makes the food lighter to digest and therefore Ayurveda always recommends cooked foods over raw foods.
  • Churning (Manthan Sanskar) – Churning can change the molecular properties of a substance. For example, curds can cause edema. But the same curds when churned into buttermilk can reduce edema. Not all foods need churning.
  • Place of Storage (Desa) – Where a substance is stored is also important. Some herbs are stored in the dark or under a heap of ash to increase their potency. When substances are stored in sunlight, they become drier and hotter while the moonlight makes substances inherently cooler.
  • Time (Kalas) – Certain foods need to be stored for a period of time before they are fit for consumption. Grains, especially rice must always be aged to one year to reduce its water content. Same is for Jaggery. If consumed sooner, both can create a slimy undesirable environment in the gut and lead to intestinal worms. At the same time, if water or cooked foods are kept overnight, they become stale and are not fit for consumption.
  • Form of the substance (Kalpana) – What is the best form for the consumption of a certain food so that it gives the desired effect. For example, ginger juice is more potent and heating than dried ginger. Therefore fresh ginger can cause ulcers but also be ore effective during a cold. Mint is much stronger as a tea than a paste. 

  • Food combinations – Samyoga – Certain foods just don’t combine well and when eaten together often can become a cause for diseases. These are some poor food combinations that are seen commonly.
  • Honey + Warm Substance (including teas)
  • Lentil + Dairy
  • Milk + Fruit (Mangoes and dates are exceptions)
  • Milk + Salt (No meals with salt are to be consumed with milk)
  • Milk + Fish

  • Quantity – Rashi – The amount of food consumed needs to be given serious consideration. Generally speaking, Ayurveda advises one to eat till he is full to the two thirds of his capacity. 

  • Place – Desa – The place where the food is grown says a lot about its nature. For example, mangoes grow in tropical climates which are hot and moist. They also ripen in the summer. Thus we can conclude that mangoes are hot and moist in the body too. Similarly, grains that grow in wetlands contain more moisture than those in drier places. Also, when we consume foods that don’t grow locally, our bodies may not be suited to them. This answers the question whether we should be eating many foreign foods like tofu and quinoa. According to Ayurveda – the answer is no. We must always ask the question – where does this food come from and what is the environment like in that place.

  • State of the person eating – Kala –  The state of health of the person eating the food needs to be considered. One cannot say that a certain substance is good for all. This is the common pitfall of the current times, where broad claims like “spinach is great for health etc” are made. Ayurveda lays great emphasis on assessing the current health status of the one who is eating the food. One man’s bread can be another’s poison.
    Similarly, the age of the person is to be considered. Certain foods are not to be eaten by certain age groups. For example, chewing paan or betel leaf is contraindicated in childhood. 

  • Basic Rules or Upyog Samsatha – This is the most important part of this section as it enumerates some basic rules. 
  • The food should always be warm and cooked as they support the Agni and pacify vata.
  • The food should have enough fat and oils. Dry foods lead to health complications and aging. 
  • The food should be always eaten in the right quantity in order to protect the Agni. Two thirds of your capacity.
  • A few sips of water or tea during the meal is better than drinking water before or after.
  • Food should only be consumed after the previous meal has been digested, usually three hours.
  • Foods possessing completely opposing qualities shouldn’t be eaten together. Example hot spicy soup followed by a cold ice cream.
  • The food should be consumed in a proper environment so that the senses are pleased and the mind is relaxed.
  • The food shouldn’t be consumed too fast as it will lead to Vata aggravation and cause bloating, gas as well as diminishment of the Agni.
  • The food shouldn’t be consumed too slowly either as it will lead to the food becoming cold and can lead to kapha aggravation.
  • Talking or laughing are not recommended during mealtimes as one can gulp great amounts of air and hurt the Agni.
  • The shastras also recommend that food should be eaten mindfully and with full concentration. Only then a person can know the right quantity and quality of food that he should consume. Today, scientists have proven that when we concentrate on our food, our gut and stomach release more digestive enzymes and thus enhance digestion.
  • Most importantly, one should assess whether a food is compatible to him. Foods that have been eaten for generations in a family are generally suitable to eat. When a completely new, foreign food is introduced; there is a high chance that the genes have no memory of how that food is to be processed. Once again, this indicates that we should be wary of introducing too many foreign foods in our diet.


Hyperactive Child

Most people are under the myth that Ayurveda is an ancient herbal system where plants and substances are used to fix health ailments. Untrue.


Ayurveda literally means the “Science of Life.”  It is not the science that just fixes diseases and treats symptoms. Huge sections of Ayurvedic ancient texts are dedicated to how one can keep himself in balance naturally. As we all know it, prevention is always better than cure.


In fact the three pillars of health in Ayurveda are Food, Sleep and Appropriate amount of sexual activity. (Ahar, Nidra and Brahmacharya). The Goal of Ayurveda is to keep these three pillars strong so we can be in a state where all doshas, dhatus (tissues) and malas (waste products) are balanced.


In terms of action, some important aspects to keep oneself in balance are – 


  • The Daily Regimen (Dincharya)
  • Factors to consider before consumption of food (Ahar Vidhi Visheshayatan)
  • Brahmacharya (Appropriate amount of sexual activity)
  • Sleep (Nidra)


Dincharya – The Daily Regimen


Ayurvedic shastras provide a detailed regimen that is to be followed everyday. While it may be hard for us to inculcate all the routines mentioned, we can pick and choose the ones that we deem most important. But the order of the routines must not be compromised. The order is designed to keep your Agni protected as well as the doshas balanced given the specific time of day. Agni or the digestive fire, when compromised is the starting point for most diseases.


These routines can be slightly altered for each dosha as well as for the season.


  • Waking Up –  A healthy person should wake up at Brahma Mahurat, i.e 96 minutes before sunrise. The timing would differ from season to season. Individuals with Vata or Pitta imbalance can wake up a little later, around sunrise. But it is highly recommended for those with a Kapha constitution to wake up at Brahma Mahurta. This is also the ideal time to meditate, introspect, pray and study. The brain is fresh and open to receiving.


Contraindication – If the meal from the previous day has not been digested well or if the quantity of sleep has been seriously affected, then a person may need to sleep in longer.


  • Elimination (Vega Shaman) –  As soon as nature calls, one should urinate and have a bowel movement. When a person is able to pass feces in the morning, his Agni is kindled and he feels natural hunger. This is important for overall health.


  • Brushing (Dantadhavan) – Traditionally, twigs of certain trees like khadira, karanja etc were used to brush. These did not just serve a mechanical function but the medicinal properties of the twig also helped with the environment of the mouth in the morning. Additionally, herbs were chosen depending on the season and person’s dosha. While it is ok to use modern day toothbrushes and toothpaste, we must be mindful about the toothpaste we use. Artificial chemicals and additives are not only harmful for the teeth but also for health, in general.

 Contraindication – Individuals suffering from fever, indigestion, facial paralysis, mouth ulcers, heart diseases are advised not to brush. 

  • Gandush (Gargling) – Gargling or rinsing the mouth with decoctions of herbs like khadira, lodhra, arjun make the teeth strong. If this is not possible, we can use just plain clean warm water.

  • Tongue Cleaning (Jivha Nirlekhan) – A tongue cleaner made of copper, silver, gold or wood can be used to scrape toxins and kapha accumulation off the tongue after gargling. Tongue cleaning also helps to stoke the Agni. The edge of tongue cleaner should not be very sharp.


  • Washing Face, Hands and Feet (Mukha – Hasta – Pada Prakshalan) – Next, the shastras advise us to wash our face, hands and feet. Slime accumulates in the pores at night as the skin also goes through a metabolism process when we are asleep. Those with dry skin can use milk to wash their face; with red/hot skin can use either cold water or milk and those with thick oily skin can use a warm decoction made of Amalaki or Udumbar. Hands and feet can be washed with lukewarm water.


  • Kohl (Anjana) – Morning is the when Kapha accumulates in the eyes, thus Ayurveda recommends the application of a natural Anjana to clean the eyes as well as provide sharper vision.
    Sauvira anjana, surma, natural kajal or rasanajana can be used. For the eyes to function well, a delicate balance needs to be maintained between excessively heating or excess cooling substances exposed to the eyes. (soma and tej gunas).


  •  Nose drops (Nasya) – Nasya or nasal drops are advised and safe to administer every single day. One or two drops can be inserted in each nostril with the head tilted slightly.
    The nose is considered to be the gateway to the head and nasya strengthens the mind as well as enhances the function of the senses. Nasya also greatly improves eyesight, quality of skin and hair. Anu taila is a safe nasya oil that is easily available in Ayurvedic pharmacies.

Contraindication – Nasya is not advised when a person is intoxicated, hungover, has a runny nose, is hard of hearing, infested with worms, or has a period of excessive travel.

  • Garling – (Gandusa and Kavala) – After Nasya – once again Gandusa or Kavala are advised. They are both variants of gargling. In Gandush, the substance is held in such great quantity in the mouth that the person is unable to move it. While for kavala, the substance is swished from side to side. Usually, oil, medicated decoction or plain water can be used for both.
    Gandush is gaining tremendous popularity in the west and some dentists advise patients to perform kavala and gandush to prevent gingivitis and bad breath. They also help with dry lips, dry mouth and quality of voice.

  • Medicated smoking (Dhumapan) – Medicated smoking is recommended for those who are prone to Kapha and Vata disorders. This is rarely done today. However, medicated dhumapan prevents cough, colds, runny nose, hiccups, discharge from eyes, nose and mouth. Tobacco-free medicated cigarettes are available in Ayurvedic pharmacies.

Contraindications – Those who are prone to pitta related diseases, intolerant to heat, have acne, rosacea or dryness and redness in the eyes.

  • Chewing Pan (Tambula Sevana) – Most people are unaware that Ayurveda recommends chewing betel leaf paan for the healthy individual. However, the ingredients are slightly different from our modern day paan ingredients. The ingredients used are betel nut, lavaṅga (clove), jātīphala (nutmeg), catechu (kathā), kaṅkol, marica (pepper), chuṇa (limestone) and betel leaves.
    The action can vary according to the ingredients used. But generally, it creates a cleansing action, promotes voice quality, increases libido, promotes digestion and fights mouth odor.
    Contraindications – Tambula sevana can be very heating and is not advisable to those who have heat related disorders, bleeding disorders, are weak or emaciated, have high libido or for children.

  • Massage (Abhyanga) – Massage or application of warm oil is highly recommended and gives innumerable benefits. Abhyanga is performed before one exercises, bathes or even eats breakfast. It protects the nervous system, skin, muscles and joints; pacifies vata, delays aging and relieves fatigue.
    One should massage for at least 15 minutes. If the entire 15 minutes is not possible, then the granthas advise application of oil at least to the soles of the feet, ears and top of the head.  Sesame oil can be used in the winter and coconut oil or ghee can be used in the summer. A few drops of a fragrant essential oil can be added to the abhyanga oil and the oil should be warmed before it is applied. 

 Contraindications – Abhyanga is not advised for those suffering from Kapha related disorders, excess lethargy or are suffering from indigestion. It is also strictly contraindicated right after eating. 

  • Exercise (Vyayam) – Decades before the western world discovered the benefits of exercise, Ayurveda recommended exercise, but only on an empty stomach and after Abhyanga. Exercise as we all know it, makes the body strong and steady as well as helps to keep all the fluids moving and joints supple. For individuals who are strong and who indulge in rich fatty foods daily; or in winter and spring, exercise can be undertaken to half of one’s strength. In all other conditions, it should be done mildly so that the body’s strength and tissues are not depleted. 


Contraindications – Vyayam is strictly contraindicated during indigestion, extreme vata or pitta aggravation, when a person is feeling weak, lack of sleep or when excessive sexual intercourse is undertaken. Mild yoga-asanas can be practiced with discretion if these conditions are present.

  • Bath (Snana) – Bathing relieves exhaustion, kindles Agni, promotes good hunger, removes dirt and sweat and keeps the thoughts clean. Mild hot water can be used for all body parts below the navel. However, cool or lukewarm water should be used for parts above the navel. Hot water is strictly contraindicated – especially for the eyes, heart and head and in heat rashes.


Contraindications – Bathing is contraindicated if one has fever, indigestion, excess cold and cough or paralysis. Sarira marjana or sponging is advised in these conditions.

  • Clean clothes and fragrance – Ayurveda advocates the use of pleasant fragrances to keep the mind and senses fresh and active. Clean clothes that are of one’s choice are advised. How one dresses and feels about himself determines his attitude towards the day. 

  • Prayers – Pujanam – Finally, before a person takes on his dharma, artha or activity for the day, he must spend a few minutes praying. Praying reminds one of his life’s purpose as well as invites energies from the universe to support his cause.

  • Nightly Routine (Ratri Charya) – Dinner should be eaten within three hours of sunset. Ideally, closer to sunset. It should always be the lightest meal of the day. Curds are contraindicated during dinner.
    Ayurvedic texts state that one should end the day with introspection. He must recall all his activities and emotions in the day and ponder upon how he can become a better person and find true happiness. Progress befriends the person who introspects daily.


Menstrual Discomfort

The Human Body is a microcosm of the Earth or the Macrocosm.

Just as the earth has its seasons, so does the body. Every month, as the female human body prepares itself for conception, there occurs a parallel internal seasonal change. 


To maintain the health of the body, it is imperative to understand and honor its internal seasonal changes. One of the primary causes for female-related conditions such as PMS, PCOD, PCOS and even some types of cancers is the failure to do so.


The 3 seasons of the Female Cycle Explained


  • The Kapha Season (The Spring time) – This is the first phase of the female cycle and begins at the end of menstruation when you stop bleeding. The Spring time in the universe is marked as a time of regrowth, resurrection and rejuvenation. It is the time when the earth is wet, seeds are planted and flowers bloom. Similarly, after a menstrual cycle, the body prepares itself to receive again and sow the seeds of creation. There is a surge in hormones leading to the production of fluid filled follicles that contain the female eggs and the endometrium lining in your womb thickens. This is a time when a woman has an inherent glow and naturally feels grounded. The Kapha predominance also makes her gentler and more tolerant. But when not honored with the right foods and lifestyle, a woman may experience sluggishness and lethargy during this season of her cycle.


  • The Pitta Season (The Summer) – This is the time when the earth gets really warm and fruits ripen. Correspondingly, the internal summer begins with ovulation. There is yet another surge in warmer hormones leading to the maturation of the female egg and the engorgement of the endometrium. The body is ripe to receive and this is the ideal time for conception.  Dominated by Pitta, the female body may release a certain smell and is naturally inviting to the opposite sex. This is the time when the mind feels sharp, decisive and can be a great time to get things achieved. When not honored with the right foods and lifestyle, agitation and excess heat may start building up.


  • The Vata Season (Autumn and Winter Season) – When the summer ends and the earth approaches winter, there is destruction and havoc. The animals hibernate and the earth slows down. This cycle of creation must end or become dormant before the new one begins. Likewise, when the egg fails to mature, the lining in the womb breaks and the woman begins her Raja Pravrutti or menstruation. This is dominated by Apana Vata or downward moving wind. The body must undergo this season carefully, so the next one can begin well. This is when Vata acts up and presents itself with cramps, bloating and anxiety.  In order to allow the Vata work effectively in the downward direction, rest, slowing down and a Vata pacification diet is a must.


As menstruation ends, thus begins another seasonal cycle. If these cycles are followed with respect to their dominant doshas, you will not only be able to minimize your PMS symptoms but also attain a healthy body and mind.


Steps to Understanding and Honoring your Seasons


  1. Live and Eat According to the Season – Once you understand the three dominant seasons as explained above, you can make a mindful effort to live and eat accordingly. During the Kapha phase of your cycle, follow a Kapha pacifying diet and make sure to keep active. This is a great time to make internal resolutions and commitments. During the Pitta phase, a Pitta pacifying diet of cooling foods should be introduced. Coconut water and rice can be added to your diet during this time. Even before the Vata phase begins, one must focus on slowing down and shifting to a Vata pacifying diet and lifestyle. Avoiding salads, cold and light foods is a must. Make sure to get enough sleep and consume warm, nourishing foods. As the menstruation begins, understand that a windy storm is brewing in your body. Menstrual symptoms may naturally begin to subside as you begin to live according to the internal seasons.


  1. Understand your Dominant Dosha – Even though the actual menstruation phase itself is dominated by Vata and Pitta to a certain extent, your personal constitution will certainly contribute by displaying its own distinctive property to your menstrual flow. 


Kapha – If your dosha is Kapha, your cycle may be heavier and potentially longer with premenstrual bloating, water retention, and a dull, achy pain. Emotions experienced can include sadness and depression. Emotional eating may be a tendency. 

Steer away from sweets and baked goods. Herbs like ginger and black pepper may help stimulate the digestion and help Vata push downward. Even though you need rest during this time, avoid excess sleep and day time napping. Anulom Vilom Pranayam will help to regulate the doshas.


Pitta – If your constitution is Pitta, your periods are probably more regular, with yellowish or red blood. They can be intense, hot, profuse with  fleshy/foul odor. Symptoms include can include burning, acne, headache, nausea, vomiting and emotions of anger and irritability. Avoid tea, coffee, spicy food, oily/greasy foods and chocolate. Focus on cooling foods and spices such as coconut water, rice, mint, basil and coriander. Sitali pranayam is recommended for internal cooling.


Vata – If your constitution is Vata, your flow may be irregular. The flow may be dry, dark, thin, frothy, clotted and lighter. Symptoms may include constipation, pain (spasmodic cramps often in the lower back and lower abdomen). Emotions experienced may be nervousness, anxiety, poor concentration and fear.  A Vata pacifying diet which includes warming, grounding, cooked foods with ghee is recommended. Anulom Vilom pranayam will help to regulate the Vata significantly. Consuming celery seeds (ajwain) with black salt after meals and a 1/2 tablespoon of castor oil at night can provide dramatic relief. 


3) Follow the Universal PMS Guidelines – There are certain universal guidelines to be followed a week before the expected period date. These minimize the PMS Syndrome and provide for a smooth period.

  • Do not consume excess sugar or caffeine as these aggravate Vata and may give rise to painful cramps and anxiety.
  • Avoid excessively salty foods as they can lead to water retention making the flow more sluggish.
  • Fried, Spicy and Junk foods should also be avoided as they aggravate Pitta making the periods more intense and hot. They can also lead to mood swings and a general feeling of anger and discontentment.

4) Upon the Start of your Menstruation – Once your period starts, the Pitta begins to settle and the Vata creates havoc.

  • Get plenty of sleep at night and sip on teas made from dried ginger, dandelion and gingko biloba. 
  • Keep hydrated and avoid cold, and light foods.
  • Follow the Vata Internal Season guidelines mentioned above.
  • Avoid long walks and strenuous exercise as they interfere with the direction of Vata. You may perform gentle forward bending yoga asanas such as paschimottasan, janu sirsana.


Modern life has made it very easy for us to  neglect our internal seasonal changes by popping a tablet to tune out of the events in our body. But only when we slow down and truly align our lifestyle with the needs of our body, can health be achieved.

Is your Weight Stuck

According to a study published by the World Health Organization in 2016, 39% of the world’s population is overweight with 13% being obese. This number is steadily on the rise, in-spite of increased awareness.


Enough has been said about the obvious causes of weight gain that range from processed, junk and high calorie foods to eating disorders. Yet, even the most health conscious struggle with healthy weight loss.


We seem to be missing something. Optimum weight should not require food deprivation or exercise mania. It should come from a healthy body with good metabolism. The input (right food and exercise) is important but how that input is processed is even more important. This is where to two secret factors to stubborn weight come in.


  1. Compromised Agni
  2. Not Eating Mindfully


Compromised Agni


Most people who find it difficult to lose weight or to maintain it, are suffering from Compromised Agni. They may try to look for answers in extensive dieting and exercising but they fail to understand that the answer lies within their own body’s framework.


What is Agni?


Agni is to our body is what the sun is to the universe. Any type of transformation in the universe requires heat and Agni is that heat in our body. Agni is the reason why we homo-sapiens can maintain our body temperature at 37*C. Agni in the belly can also be called digestive fire and it takes on the great task of processing our food by dividing it into nutrients and waste. 


It doesn’t matter how healthy or nutritious your food may be – without the right fire you will not be able to put it to any use. In fact, even the simplest foods may cause symptoms and weight gain.


By the same logic, when your Agni is functioning well, even the most complex foods can be used well by your body. Lack of Agni or Variable Agni leads not only to diseases like hypothyroidism and obesity but also to a range of auto-immune disorders.


You can compare Agni to the flame on which you cook food. For your food to cook well,  the flame needs to be at the right level for the right amount of time. 


What types Agni contribute to weight gain?


Low – Low Agni is when your body does not have the level of Agni it would take to optimize food processing. Digestion may take longer and sometimes be incomplete leading to extra bodily tissue or weight. It can be compared to cooking food on a stove which has a really minute flame. Those with a Kapha Prakruti may naturally lean towards Low Agni.


Variable – Variable Agni can also be a culprit. Variable Agni, usually caused by irregular eating patterns and yo-yo diets can leave Agni high at times or low at other times. Imagine cooking food on a really high flame and then abruptly lowering it to a minimum. You will end up burning some parts and may leave other parts undercooked. Such becomes the state of your food. The under transformed food quickly adds to the fat cells in your body.


What are the enemies of Agni?


Since we have now established that Agni is paramount for optimum weight and health, lets look at some of the enemies of Agni.


  • Snacking – Snacking does not give Agni a chance to refuel itself.
  • Eating at irregular times – There is such a thing as Agni memory. Your Agni functions at its best if it knows when to expect food according to your biological clock.
  • Yo-Yo Diets – Extreme diet followed by extreme bingeing can lead to variable Agni, which in turn can lead to weight gain.
  • Cold Foods – Like cold water and ice-cream are like water on fire, shocking and shutting down the function of Agni.
  • Raw Foods – Need to undergo a great level of transformation, thereby put a lot of strain on Agni. In the short term, salads may make you lose weight as they are so light but they also lower the strength of your Agni leading to weight gain when you switch back to regular food. They also don’t provide enough nutrition to your tissues.
  • Extremely Heavy Foods – like pizza and cheese require a lot of heat, thereby utilize a lot of Agni strength.
  • Heavy Diet Programs – Where there is no fuel, there is no fire. If you don’t feed your Agni regularly, it will go out. When you finally give up your diet, you’ll find yourself easily susceptible to weight gain.
  • A Lethargic or Immobile Lifestyle – Movement stokes Agni, keeping it in good shape. This is why exercise makes you hungry. When you have a very lethargic lifestyle, the Agni does not get stoked and this leads to weight gain.


What can you do to build and restore Agni?


If your Agni is compromised, you can utilize these simple measures to bring it up to speed. Once your Agni is functioning well, make sure to avoid the pitfalls mentioned above.

  • Use Agni kindling spices like asofestida, cardammom, cloves, pepper, long pepper, cinnamon, cumin, coriander seeds and fennel.
  • Consume Ghee in small quantities. Ghee is great fuel that keeps the Agni steady.
  • Bathe and exercise before eating in the morning.
  • Bhastrika Pranayam and Kapal Bhaati Pranayam can be useful if you don’t have excess body heat.
  • Agni Building asanas like Pawanmuktasan, Ardha-Matsyendrasana, Marichi-asana, Parivritta-trikonasana are good for all.


Check to see if your Agni is functioning well. Timely elimination, regular hunger, asymptomatic digestion, steady weight and the ability to tolerate junk or heavy foods occasionally are signs of a robust Agni.


Not Eating Mindfully


The second hidden cause of weight gain, or rather the inability to lose weight is Not Eating Mindfully. Even those who make the healthiest food choices may find themselves in this trap.


Not eating mindfully does not necessarily mean binge-eating. It means eating without your mind focussing entirely on the food. There are a multitude of reasons why we may eat mindlessly.


  • As Kids, a lot of us were fed at the first sound of a cry. Many a time, the cry may not have even been for food. But food was used as a distraction from another discomfort. As this pattern continues into adulthood, it becomes a habit pattern and can turn into a stress-eating disorder. Every time we feel uneasy, we may find ourselves reaching for food.
  • With busy lives and gadgets, multi-tasking during mealtimes is not uncommon. This again leads to mindless eating.


But why does mindless eating lead to weight gain?


  • When we are not fully tuned into our food and hunger, we allow our minds to be preoccupied by other thoughts. Thus, we tend not only to overeat, but also end up picking options that are not the healthiest. We eat faster, chew lesser and may even adopt the wrong posture. All of these factors contribute to weight gain.
  • Another reason is that when you are fully tuned into your food (Also called being in the present moment), your body and brain function in the “rest and digest mode.” Simply put, you produce more saliva, more digestive enzymes, the glucose stays within the cells and is not released in the blood, there is lowered cortisol and adrenaline production and the heart-beat is regular. When food is consumed in such a state, it will be metabolized effectively. You will be able to absorb nutrients effectively and everything else will be treated as waste. It’s like a blender that is working on the highest setting.


So the trick is to set some time aside for mealtimes. Start by taking a few deep breaths, tuning in, smelling your food, touching it, really tasting it and then chewing it till you paste it. You will eat less, feel more fulfilled and be leaner and healthier.

Let’s start looking at weight loss the right way. If we start with Mindful Consumption, Balanced Agni and Active Lifestyles as our primary goals, we will begin to realize that Optimum Weight will be achieved automatically, as a side effect. It will no longer be hard work!

Intermittent Fasting Word

Intermittent Fasting is quite the rage these days, but is it yet just another health fad that will fade away once its ill effects are discovered. Lets find out!

Where does the idea of Intermittent Fasting come from?

Intermittent fasting for health reasons is a concept that was first introduced in Ayurvedic texts about 5000 years ago. So its timeless and it works. Known as langhan in Sanskrit, it was the original method of detox way before the word detox found its away in our vocabulary.

What is the principle behind Intermittent Fasting?

The principle behind intermittent fasting is to give your digestive system a little break by going hungry for a good chunk, usually 16 out of 24 hours.

Our Gut often has a backlog of food and toxic fermented waste from previous meals that accumulates in the channels. When we keep loading the system with new meals, the digestive enzymes never get a chance to breakdown the backlog. As a result, our gut weakens, our liver feels an overload and a general feeling of lethargy sets in. But when we don’t put anything new in the digestive tract, we allow the enzymes to break down the toxic backlog. Once the old residue is addressed, the tropical environment in the digestive system starts breaking down tissue and fat deposits, thus the weight loss.

Does this mean that anyone can go on an intermittent fast?

Absolutely Not. Fasting is not for children or for the elderly. Neither is it for those who are emaciated, depleted, dry or suffering from eating disorders. But it works very well in these three conditions –

  • If you have a lot of toxic build up in your body, usually represented by a thin white film on your tongue, a general sense of lethargy and a peculiar mouth odor.
  • Or if you have had a long period of binge eating and want you give your body some time to work on the excess food.
  • Or if you have unhealthy fat deposits that need to move.

How exactly does one undertake intermittent fasting?

There are many variations to an intermittent fast but the most important thing to know is that whatever you consume must be during the daytime hours, typically between 10AM – 4PM or 10 AM – 6PM. The primary reason for this is that as humans, we are diurnal mammals. Our body functions the best when the sun is out, just like all other diurnal mammals. It is when your digestive system is the most active. Also, eating early in the day ensures that you have plenty of time for digestion before you hit the sac.

Traditionally and ideally, a serious intermittent fast would mean that you go light during the day eating lentil soup (mung beans preferred here) with olive oil/ghee and carminative spices. If you wanted to add more, rice gruel, vegetable broth and cooked green vegetables could be added. And then you eat nothing once its evening.

Or you could choose to eat what you eat, but but only in the allocated daytime hours.

For how long can one go on an intermittent fast?

Depending on how you undertake the fast, one can even adopt this practice for a lifetime. The Jain Community in India, ranked as one of the healthiest communities according to some studies has been following this practice for the last 1500 years since 500A.D. However, if intermittent fasting is adopted as a long term practice, nourishing meals are important during the daytime.

If you choose to undertake intermittent fast as a short term detox, I would highly recommend consuming mung lentil soup only during the eating hours. Disappearance of the white coating on tongue, clear sinuses and a general feeling of lightness would indicate that the detox has taken place successfully.

If you feel that the the fasting is draining you out or making you light headed, its probably not for you!

Anything else I should beware of before I start?

I would recommend avoiding foods that make your metabolic activity go wild. You want to consume foods that are nourishing but release energy slowly. So avoiding excess caffeine and alcohol can be useful.

I am not a big fan of fruits either as they ferment very quickly creating chaos inside, especially during a fast. Think about how one piece of fruit thrown in your garbage can changes its stench.

Raw foods too, can leave you bloated and uneasy making fasting very difficult.

FUN FACT – Fasting has been a religious practice in the East for centuries now. The premise is that a toxin free, lighter body makes for a sharper and more peaceful mind, making meditation easier and more effective.

To sum it all up, Intermittent Fasting done right can be your ticket to a good body and a good mind!


About Nidhi Pandya

I help women overcome all types of Gut issues, naturally and permanently. My practice is based on the principles of Ayurveda as well as the current breakthroughs in the GI space. If your gut takes up more of your attention than you like, I would love to chat. So feel free to DM me.