The Concept of AMA in Ayurveda

(Toxicity of the body and mind)

According to Ayurveda, good health depends upon our capability to fully metabolize all aspects of life, assimilating that which nourishes and eliminating the rest. When we cannot digest our food completely, or deal with our experiences and emotions in a positive manner, toxins accumulate in our bodily tissues, creating imbalance and – ultimately – disease. When our digestive energies, known as agni (fire), are robust, we create healthy tissues, eliminate waste products efficiently, and produce a subtle essence called Ojas. Ojas may be defined as the innermost sap of our psychophysiology,

Normally the body has the innate ability to efficiently process and remove waste material which includes the vitiated doshas. However, due to one’s lifestyle, erroneous dietary habits, poor exercise patterns, and genetic predisposition; the digestive enzymes, metabolic co-factors, hormones, and agnis which regulate the body’s internal homeostasis become disorganized. This can lead to the accumulation and spread of toxins throughout the physiology resulting in disease. This waste matter is called ama in Ayurveda. Ama is a foul-smelling, sticky, harmful substance that needs to be completely evacuated from the body. When ama accumulates In the body, it blocks the flow of energy, information, and nourishment throughout the system. Ayurveda considers this build-up of toxins the underlying cause of all disease.

Symptoms of ama

Ama can affect you on the physical as well as emotional level.

The effect on the physical level is as follows:

  • Fatigue
  • Fat gain
  • Aches and pains in the body
  • Morning lethargy
  • Inability to evacuate completely in the morning
  • Bloating
  • Indigestion
  • Shallow breathing

The effect of ama on the mental level is as follows:

Symptoms of mental exhaustion can vary from person to person and often begin to show gradually, creeping up on you during periods of extreme stress. If stress continues to weigh on you, you may reach a point where you feel as though you’re in a dark hole and can’t see your way out. If your emotional agni is strong, you will be able to extract whatever is nourishing and eliminate the rest. However, the inability to metabolize emotions produces just as much toxic residue as undigested food.

The following symptoms of the presence of ama can show up:

  • Cynicism or pessimism
  • Apathy or feeling of not caring
  • Detachment
  • Anger
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Feelings of dread
  • Lack of motivation
  • Decline in productivity
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Anger
  • Long-held sadness
  • Feelings of guilt are more debilitating for most people than problems with physical digestion

Prevention of ama and its evacuation will be dealt with in the next blog by our expert on the subject – Dr Neeraj Jaswal B.A.M.S. M.D. (Ayu), Sri Sri Tattva Panchakarma – New Rajinder Nagar, New Delhi.