Ama is another big topic in Ayurveda. It is what makes us sick, what gives us diseases and what we need to eliminate from our bodies.
Ama is the result of undigested matter that gets lodged in our bodies. Once it starts to accumulate in the body it will not only affect our body but our mind as well. If it is not removed it will result in any number of symptoms which ultimately if untreated can result in disease. Ayurveda states that all diseases begin as ama. Once undigested matter accumulates in the body the digestive functions become weak and this leads to a weakened immune system. This is why a strong agni is so important as it is the strong fire of our agni that has the ability to digest everything we eat and burn up any ama in our system. So, if our agni is weak, our fire will not be strong enough for proper digestion and anything we don't fully digest will form ama. Once ama is in our body it travels around until it finds a nice little place to settle and it will grow and grow. Not only will it grow, but it will also travel and spread throughout the body.
So how do you know if you have ama? Here are some signs to look out for:
- Waking up tired, even after a good nights sleep
- Loss of appetite
- Coating on the tongue
- Aches and pains
- Loss of enthusiasm
- Bad breath
- Blockages - constipation, sinus etc
- Lack of mental clarity
- Well pretty much any symptom of illness is a sign that your body is not in harmonious balance and that ama has started to form.
- A light, fresh, whole food diet. The diet would mainly be a kapha reducing diet as ama is heavy, sticky and has the ability to get stuck, just like kapha. So stay away from dairy, nuts, bread, pastries, sugar, red meat, eggs and root vegetables for starters, and have lots of ginger and other heating foods and spices (be careful if you have excess pitta).
- Ginger, cinnamon, cardamon, fennel or dandelion root tea
- An Ayurvedic massage. This type of massage uses hot oil and stimulation of marmas (energy centers) to remove blockages and ama (toxins) from the body
- Self massage
- Jogging. My teacher swears by it as a sure fire way to get your digestion working and burn up ama. Jogging will get your heart moving, heat you up and get you sweating. This will burn the ama and flush it out of the system. If you don't like the idea of jogging try any sport or physical exercise that will have the same results - increased heart rate and sweat.
- Tongue scraping
- Regular eating habits
- An Ayurvedic consultation
Other things to avoid or reduce:
- Processed food
- Heavy, oily, fried food
- Eating late at night
- Eating quickly
- Living a sedentary life
So there you have it, a quick introduction to ama. There is a lot more to it so I will be adding more posts on this subject over time.
I hope that you find this interesting and helpful and that you can use this information to live a healthier life. It's not always easy and it's not always fun. But it is how we can look after ourselves and prevent disease so it is definitely worth it if we can. Good luck and let me know how you go or if you have any questions.