If you ever find yourself reaching for caffeine or sugary snacks in the late morning or early afternoon hours, you’re not alone. While some waning of energy during this time is normal and even acceptable (part of our natural circadian rhythm), overwhelming fatigue might be a sign of a weakened digestive fire (agni).
Refreshing drinks made of yogurt, water, herbs, and spices, lassis act like kindling to help build a strong agni.
Commonly enjoyed in South Asia, lassis go beyond the sweet mango lassi we’re most familiar with in the West. The many varieties range from sweet to salty to spiced.
“Growing up in Pakistan, meethi
(sweet) or namkeen (salty) lassi was part and parcel of our diet all summer long,” notes yogi Mahein Kazi. “It was our secret weapon to beat the heat: It had the power to energize a sluggish soul, but it also helped cool you down in the immense heat and lull you into a much-needed afternoon siesta.”
While she was originally partial to the sweet meethi lassi, Kazi says she eventually gravitated to her father’s beloved namkeen lassi. (In fact, this past Ramadan she says he opened his fast with a daily glass of namkeen lassi—“the most refreshing way to recover from the high temperatures and lack of fluid intake during the day.”)
Lassis for Digestion and Fatigue
When agni burns too low, ama (toxins) get left behind, like half-burnt logs. This ama then travels to deeper tissues in the body, causing flare-ups on the skin, forgetfulness in the mind, or pain and stiffness in the bones/muscles. (Ama has a natural affinity for and seeks out tissues that have been previously weakened from illness or disease, which is why it expresses differently in everyone.) The state of ama in the tissues manifests as sluggishness and fatigue.
If agni burns too high, it might burn all the food, but it eats away at our excess energy, too, like a campfire spreading to the forest. This leaves us depleted and burned out.
A strong, efficient agni will help your body more efficiently digest food, which ensures that nutrients—not ama— settle in our bodily tissues. This results in healthier tissues and ultimately more energy for us!
Additional Lassi Benefits
Lassis are generally recommended for all doshas—as the herbs and spices, as well as the water dilution, help balance the natural heaviness of yogurt. (Though Kaphas are advised to take sweet lassis in moderation.)
[Read: “Balance the Doshas and Build your Senses with Ayurveda.”]
Particularly, lassis can help relieve constipation, pain, and dryness for Vatas; diarrhea and indigestion in Pittas; and digestive sluggishness and bloating in Kaphas.