Ayurveda recognises four types of digestion that can help us stay in balance once we are familiar with them. I write about this in depth for Mindbodygreen. Keep reading for a sneak peek of what I said.


In Ayurveda, the 5,000-year-old "science of life" from India that concerns itself with holistic health and well-being, digestion is the start and end point of feeling at your absolute best. Even Hippocrates said that all disease begins in the gut — something that we're beginning to recognise in the West, judging by the huge focus on gut health and digestion in the current news cycle. When you are digesting efficiently, you feel energised and ready to take on the day, and you sleep better, too, not to mention your body assimilates the essential nutrients from your food and eliminates the rest easily. If it's not working, then it can be the beginning of so many issues. So how does one achieve healthy digestion?

Ayurveda understands our digestion as Agni—the Sanskrit word for "fire" — which we must look after in order to keep it lively and balanced. We can describe the condition of our digestive fire through four discrete types of agni with a balanced Agni being ideal. Each of us corresponds more closely to one of the three other types in our natural state (or individual mind-body type, designated by the three Doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) but can inch toward any of the others depending on how we eat, how we sleep, our everyday habits and our current environment.

Read more about Agni and how to look after it in East by West, page 278-79.