In Sanskrit Agni translates as Fire.
Agni is the body’s digestive heat and transformative energy that is responsible for all it’s transformative processes; not just metabolically but mentally also.
The key to health in Ayurveda is good digestion. The relative strength or weakness of one’s digestion is dependent on the strength of one’s Agni (digestive fire).
The basic nature of Agni is to convert and consume. (A non stop process)
When no food is available to act on, the Agni will initially begin to digest the oily and liquid materials of the Pitta and Kapha Doshas and if further food is still unavailable, it will begin to consume the tissues. (This is the reason that fasting emaciates the body)
Three levels of Agni
* As the subtle elemental Agni, that causes a reaction between atoms and molecules.
* As a metabolic Agni in the tissues.
* As the digestive Agni in the gastro intestinal tract.
Thirteen types of Agni
* One Jathara Agni (the Stomachic Agni)
* Five Bhouta Agnies (the Elemental Agnies)
* Seven Dhatu Agnies (the tissue metabolic Agnies)
- The Jathara Agni is the Primary Agni and is the basis of all the other Agnies. It is located in the Stomach and the Small Intestine. (Amashaya)
- The Five Bhouta Agnies are present in the Jathara Agni to digest the Bhoutas. One for each Bhouta.
- The Seven Dhatu Agnies acquire their names from each of the seven tissue types.
- Rasagni in the Rasa Dhatu ( Rich in plasma )
- Raktagni in the Rakta Dhatu ( Rich in blood )
- Mamsagni in the Mamsa Dhatu ( Muscle )
- Medhagni in the Medha Dhatu ( Fat )
- Astiagni in the Asti Dhatu ( Bone )
- Majjagni in the Majja Dhatu ( Marrow, Grey Matter )
- Shukragni in the Shukra Dhatu ( Reproductive Tissue )
Each Dhatu Agni is specific for that Dhatu in composition and function and suitable for that Dhatu only. The process each Dhatu Agni undergoes to replenish it’s tissue takes between 3-5 days. There are also byproducts and waste products of this process which will be discussed further, later on. In total, the whole digestive process takes between 30-35 days. So the dinner you eat today will take this long to nourish all your body’s tissues.
If the Jathara Agni Is weak, it will reflect in all the Agnies and thus in the tissues.