Updated: Feb 22
Pitta Ksaya is a term describing a deficiency of the Fire and Water Element in the body in regards to Pitta Dosha (which can be either excited or deficient). This alone is usually remedied quite easily by the body without our noticing, but if it does persist it can drive Vata and Kapha dosha much higher than your natural constitution can cope with. This can lead to symptoms a weak digestive fire described by Ayurveda as a cause of 'Ama'.
Ama is a condition of 'weak belly Fire' that practitioners of Ayurveda are particularly interested in assessing before any treatment plans are given to help balance Dosha. This is because without a proper functioning belly Fire, called Agni, the body cannot digest and assimilate any dietary changes or medicinal products or, indeed, lifestyle changes as Agni (being present in every cell) digests even our daily experiences.
Symptoms of Ama are as follows:
- A feeling of blockage in the body and mind
- A loss of strength
- A feeling of heaviness in the body
- A lack of clarity in the mind
- Coughing, spitting and clearing the throat to remove a feeling of blockage and stickiness
- A lack of the usual enjoyment for food but eating anyway
- General lack of energy
A good Amapachana Plan should leave you feeling light, energised, buoyant, refreshed and digesting a huge variety of foods easily.
I've termed this practice Digestive Support because although deficient Pitta and the accompanying Vata/Kapha increase can lead to symptoms of weakness in vision, weak thought processing and memory and even sciatica and a propensity to look for the nearest radiator to lean against, the root cause of all of this disturbance is still due to improper functioning Agni (the digestive capacity of all of the 13 Agni and the Agni within each cell).
To support the remedial effects of this movement practice above add in spices to your meals on a regular basis.
If your digestion is very irregular, meaning you digest bread great today - not so much tomorrow or you bloat one day and feel acid reflux the next etc - try adding cardamom, fennel, cumin and asafetida (hing) to your meals and even make a tea from the first three to sip throughout the day. These symptoms can be a sign of indigestion in a 'Vata Type Body'.
If your digestion is hot, fast and you digest almost everything well but waaaaay too quickly culminating in loose stools and constant hunger this imay be a sign of indigestion in a 'Pitta Type Body'. When meals are missed or even a little late symptoms of shaking and a feeling of intense hunger and an inability to concentrate can appear (perhaps including confusion, headache, sweating and blurred vision). Try adding cumin, coriander and fennel to your meals and drink as a tea.
If your digestion feels non-existent and you feel full for hours and hours after eating (making the timing of a yoga class difficult) and you feel like you gain weight much easier than other people along with just 'feeling heavy' immediately after eating and getting sinus congestion after eating you may have a 'Kapha Body Type' and these symptoms are your cue that indigestion is part of the picture of your current imbalance. Try adding ginger, black pepper, fenugreek and cumin to your meals and within tea blends. At the same time as I am suggesting the teas as a way of taking the spices - I'll advise that you don't sip at them all day or drink large quantities of liquids.
Working on core strength is a great way to feed the Fire! Make sure that you practice in a safe way with good technique (perhaps getting a professional to lead the way) and pace yourself as you increase the capacity of your core to join in all your movements. You can also add in hula hooping and belly dancing moves as a way to free up the Fire within.
In terms of lifestyle practices that increase digestion -
- Practice breathwork regularly
- Challenge yourself (will-power is a great way to feed the Fire)
- Keep the body warm (avoid chilling the low back and belly particularly!)
Belly Massage is something you can easily do at home with a little practice. You can use sesame oil for an Ayurvedic approach (sesame oil is good for all doshic imbalances). Follow the natural direction of food transiting through the colon as you massage (up the right side belly, then across to the left and down the left side belly and back across to the right in a circular motion around the belly button). You can also hold the right hand over the belly and breathe deeply inviting energy and warmth into the belly.
Pippali is the Sanskrit name for Long Pepper (Piper Longum) and this wonderful spice can be a great addition to your soups, grains and vegetables as it has a warming nature.
If you would like to practice with the full range of Five Element Fitness therapeutic classes (and practices that work with the Five Elements (Ether, Wind, Fire, Water, Earth) they are available on Demand here https://vimeo.com/ondemand/fiveelementfitness via subscription.