3 Ways To Keep Your Digestive Fires Burning Bright for the Holidays
Try these three recipes for better digestion.
Ayurveda teaches us that there is a powerful connection between the mind, body, and spirit. It’s not just the foods we eat but also the emotions we experience that impact our health and wellness. This ancient science tells us that each emotion has an affinity to a specific organ and dosha.
Liver: Anger (Pitta)
Gallbladder: Hatred (Pitta)
Kidney: Fear (Vata)
Colon: Anxiety (Vata)
Lungs: Grief/Sadness (Kapha)
As an example, every client I have worked with who experiences high anxiety tends to struggle with constipation issues. The Ayurvedic explanation for this phenomenon is simple: both of these symptoms are evidence of an imbalance in the Vata dosha, the seat of which is the colon.
A few years ago, I started working with a woman who exhibited classic signs and symptoms of aggravated Pitta dosha. It showed up as rashes, loose and burning stools, and uncontrolled agitation in her temperament. She had also recently undergone gallbladder removal surgery.
Every Ayurvedic dosha has its strengths when balanced. But once doshas are vitiated, problems arise. For example, an imbalanced Pitta individual can be critical of others, as well as jealous, insecure, competitive, short-tempered, self-loathing, harsh, hateful, agitated… you get my drift.
When we had just started to work together, this particular client frequently prefaced her sentences by stating, “I am the last person to judge others.” The words that followed were always negative about someone else. Her main emotion wasn’t anger as much as it was deep-seated hatred. Despite all the good that she seemingly did to present as socially acceptable, at her core she experienced some abhorrent emotions. Self-loathing led to self-victimization, which made her hateful of other people’s jobs, homes, vacations, lives, and relationships. I don’t need to tell you that hate is a very strong emotion, and it can be absolutely detrimental to your health.
It’s commendable how far this client has come in her physical, emotional, and mental healing. It all started with identifying not just her doshic imbalance, but the key emotion ruling her life: hate. This client had such a long-term, deep-seated emotional imbalance when it came to hating herself and others that it led to challenging health conditions over time.
Remember how her gallbladder had to be removed? The gallbladder is the organ of hate in the Ayurvedic perspective. As the storage site of bile, the gallbladder is a Pitta organ playing an important role in the digestive process. She struggled with severe digestive problems. Eventually, she became aware of the hate she felt and dealt with it.
Ayurveda will tell you that if your go-to emotional state is one of anger, the unprocessed anger gets stored in the liver, potentially creating weakness in this organ and related healthcare issues.
I recently worked on an Ayurvedic project in India. Out of ten of us visiting from the United States, just one person fell ill. Despite the long hours, oppressive humidity, and intense schedule, everyone except this one person remained mentally and physically healthy.
The team member who fell ill came down with a high fever, hives, diarrhea, extreme mental agitation, inflammation, and rashes. She was extremely angry at herself and everyone around her. She was unable to nourish any old relationships and was incapable of forming new friendships, which made her lonelier and angrier.
The doctors working with her assessed that her liver energy was low, which weakened her immunity. Her treatment protocol included processing her unresolved anger by making some appropriate diet and lifestyle changes. These changes helped reduce her overall Pitta, cleansed her system, improved digestion, and ultimately strengthened her liver.
I share these examples to remind you that we all experience intense emotions. It’s called the human condition. The emotions we have are the mind and body’s holistic way of appreciating the meaning of events that happen in our lives. But when we deny, hide, or cling onto our emotions, they can become unprocessed, crystallized, and toxic to our system.
You might not realize that your uncontrollable go-to emotion is ruining your emotional, physical, and mental health. Be it sadness, grief, fear, anxiety, anger, or hatred, excessive emotions are corrosive to our life, relationships, and overall wellbeing. They have the power to create sickness in our bodies. Ever heard of people not being able to breathe because of their grief? According to Ayurveda, the lungs are home to sadness, grief, and depression.
It’s important to get help, deal with these emotions, and eventually learn to let them go. In my practice, my tools include advice for Ayurvedic diet, lifestyle (which involves pranayama, yoga, self-reflection, and strategies for mindset shift), and herbs. I have seen clients transform their health and lives once they start to acknowledge the physical impact of extreme emotions.
To establish good health, you need to begin to work through the emotion taking a toll on you. A combination of therapy, Ayurvedic counseling, journaling, yoga, meditation, time in nature, and deep breathing practices can help release the particular emotion from your being.
Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. The information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional. If you are nursing, taking medications, or have a medical condition, please consult with your health care practitioner prior to the use of any of these herbs. If you are looking for advice from a trained yogi and Ayurvedic coach, contact Sweta here.
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