Correcting manda agni requires pacifying kapha and kindling agni in order to counter the accumulated heaviness and moisture. Because kapha is the most tangible of the doshas, manda agni is profoundly affected by the gross influences of diet and exercise. That said, subtle therapies like pranayama, yoga, and kapha pacifying lifestyle habits, can offer meaningful support to the mind and emotional factors that so often contribute to kapha-aggravating behaviors (think lethargy, emotional eating, lack of motivation). Here are a few suggestions for kindling a sluggish digestive fire.
- Eat a kapha pacifying diet focused on light, dry, and easily digestible foods.
- Including a variety of energetically heating foods, and a plethora of spices to kindle the digestive fire.
- Minimize the presence of oil and fat in your diet (the best oils for kapha are sunflower oil and olive oil, but should be used very sparingly).
- Reduce processed foods and sugars.
- Stoke the digestive fire about 30 minutes before lunch and dinner by chewing a slice of fresh ginger (about the size of a nickel) with a pinch of sea salt, a few drops of lime juice, and about ¼ teaspoon honey. If this feels overwhelming, you could take one or two Kapha Digest tablets about 30 minutes before lunch and dinner, instead.
- Favor warm and hot beverages and be careful not to overhydrate. Hot water and herbal teas like ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, or clove can help to liquefy, dry, and eliminate excess kapha.1
- Eat three square meals each day (at about the same time each day) and try not to snack between meals. If you must have something, reach for some sliced carrots, celery, or apples.
- Make lunch the main meal and eat smaller quantities of food at breakfast and dinner.
- Get plenty of kapha pacifying exercise:
- Focus on establishing a kapha pacifying daily routine.
- Practice Bhastrika pranayama daily to stimulate the digestive fire and increase heat. You can start with just one or two rounds of 10 breaths, but can slowly build up to five rounds of 10 breaths. A few minutes of Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing) is a wonderful complement to this practice.
These herbs and formulas are particularly balancing for kapha.
- Kapha Digest tablets or Trikatu (the powdered form of the Kapha Digest formula that can be taken alone or sprinkled on your food like pepper) are both wonderful for balancing excess kapha in the digestive tract.
- Balance kapha systemically with Healthy Kapha tablets.
- If more than one type of agni is evident in your digestive tract, take Triphala tablets, Triphala powder, or Triphala liquid extract to support digestion and proper elimination.
- Consider taking Bibhitaki instead of Triphala to more specifically balance kapha (if kapha is truly the primary concern).
1 Lad, Vasant. Textbook of Ayurveda Volume III: General Principles of Management and Treatment. Albuquerque: The Ayurvedic Press, 2012. Print. 113.