According to ayurveda, ama is a toxic substance that results from an impaired agni or poor digestion. The accumulation of ama can severely impact one’s health, which is why it's important to cleanse ama from the body regularly. This article will explain what ama is and general techniques on how to support ayurveda ama cleansing.
What is Ama?
Ama is essentially the result of poor digestion or agni. In Sanskrit, ama translates to “raw,” “uncooked,” “unripe,” or “undigested.” It is unprocessed waste inside the body that is of no use and accumulates in the digestive tract. It can become toxic to our own body and is usually involved with the accumulation of the doshas at their respective sites (colon for Vata, small intestine for Pitta and stomach for Kapha) and kickstarts the disease process.
Ama can form from eating food too quickly, overeating, eating too late at night, eating poorly prepared food, or unresolved emotions, to name a few. While some degree of ama is standard, too much ama that is not regularly cleaned or eliminated from the body can cause disruptions and become problematic.
Generally, ama is very much like Kapha: it is cold, dull, damp, heavy, oily, thick and tends to clog and ferment. In other words, in the digestive system, it contributes to the suppression of the digestive fire – Agni.
To identify ama in your body, look for these general signs and symptoms:
- Thick coating on the tongue
- Chronic fatigue
- Clogged channels; sinus congestion, constipation, stagnant lymph
- Mental fog, dizziness, clouded judgment
- Abnormal taste
Depending on what part of the body ama settles into, it can cause more specific signs and symptoms. The location ama is in can also give insight into optimally targeting the ama one may be experiencing.
Three Types of Ama
It can help understand what type of ama you may be experiencing, so you have a better idea of targeting it.
Sama vata is ama of the vata dosha. This type of ama may show itself through more vata type symptoms such as constipation, gas, bloating, lack of appetite or taste, pain in the joints, or disinterest in life.
Sama pitta is ama of the pitta dosha. This ama can be identified through pitta-type symptoms such as foul smells, acid eructation, burning sensations, or green or yellow coloring.
Sama kapha is ama of the kapha dosha. This type of ama is seen through kapha-type imbalance symptoms such as obstructed channels, heaviness, sluggish digestion, or no appetite.
Ama Cleansing Therapies
If you are experiencing chronically stored ama, you're likely in need of an ayurvedic ama cleanse, or more simply, an ayurvedic cleanse. An ayurvedic cleanse works through a 3-part system to loosen excess doshas and ama from deep tissues and move them into the digestive tract to eliminate:
- Phase 1: Traditionally, ama cleansing starts with a preparation phase to acclimate and prepare the body for what's to come.
- Phase 2: The heart of the cleanse comes from the active cleanse, where you utilize a mono-diet of kitchari, lifestyle practices, and body therapies to pull out built-up toxins and ama from your system. During this part of the cleanse, consuming Ghruta ghee and Salt Tea in the morning helps bind ama for removal and nourish tissues.
- Phase 3: The last phase of is the rejuvenation phase, which is focused on supporting the body and bringing it back to equilibrium. In the rejuvenation phase, it's recommended that one take rasayanas, like Chyawanprash to nourish the tissues in the body, build ojas and help you regain vitality.