Now the winter months are closing and spring is well on its way, the body is also changing with the seasons and this can mean a disturbed effect to our Agni (digestive fire) which can lead to a build up of toxins and cause sickness, especially respiratory and allergy ailments. Also as we start to thaw from the cold months the toxins accumulated during this time also start to thaw with us building up in our system causing our bodies to react in some way. However we can boost our immune system with some simple things that can help us with the transition between the seasons, gentle cleansing techniques like steam baths and oils massage are great at this time. Cleansing techniques strengthen the Agni and prevent more toxins known in Ayurveda as Ama, building up. Eating warm light meals will help to cleanse such as lightly spiced soups, couscous and kitcheri.
To help enhance your Agni adding this simple pomegranate chutney to each meal will help improve your digestion, elimination, decrease gas and decrease stomach acid, thus not allowing the ama to accumulate:
1 teaspoon of rock or sea salt
¼ teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
Fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon of grated jaggary (natural sugar)
Mix all the ingredients in a blender and add to your meals accordingly.
Enjoy cooking home meals and add immune-enhancing ingredients such as cumin, fennel, coriander, turmeric, ginger and black pepper. Avoid eating left overs, frozen and processed foods, heavy fried foods and ice-cold foods and drinks which all add to ama (toxins.) Also some vegetables can be more Ama producing – tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and sweet peppers, so better to avoid at this time.
Another great recipe packed with goodness is this chickpea and spinach salad, the spinach like other leafy greens providing a great source of vitamin A, C, K and folic acid, also stimulating the production of critical immune cells in the stomach:
1 cup of chickpeas (soaked and cooked in pressure cooker)
1 cup of tender baby spinach chopped
1 chopped carrot to match stick size
¼ cup of raw mango sliced
4 chopped dates
½ cup of fresh coriander
¼ cup of fine chopped cabbage
¼ teaspoon of cumin seeds crushed
¼ teaspoon of ginger paste or powder
¼ teaspoon of black pepper
½ teaspoon of mustard or olive oil depending on taste
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
2 teaspoons of grated jaggary (natural sugar)
Mix all the ingredients and enjoy! You could also serve on a bed of fresh rice noodles to make a more substantial meal if you needed.
The practice of kapalabati the fire breath is essential at this time and will help to increase the Agni and reduce the Ama, so a few minutes each morning will really make a difference.
So let us stay healthy during these transition times between the seasons, eat well, sleep well and practice our yoga well!
Looking forward to seeing you on and off the mat where the best parts of yoga are those that cannot be seen.
Om Om shantih Om
Mangala / Nicky