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Ayurveda 101 // Mind-gut connection

Image by Mathieu Stern

Image by Mathieu Stern

The energetic intelligence of the enteric nervous system (ENS) is the principle of agni. The ENS is often referred to as a second brain. It actually has more neurons (a type of brain cell) than your brain. WTF.

There is no question that it has a mind of its own. The microcircuitry of the ENS makes it possible for this epic intelligence system to coordinate gastrointestinal behaviour without any help from the central nervous system (CNS).

The neurochemistry, mode of transmitting electrical signals and anatomy of the ENS and CNS are similar. That means the ENS (your gut) and CNS (your brain) share the same chemical language and structure.

Guess who else shares this chemical language? Your microbiome.

The micro-ecology of your system is another component of agni. Without question the little bugs inside of you (aka your gastrointestinal flora or microbiome) help normal digestion (segregation, assimilation, transformation and elimination included). In fact some nutrients can only be accessed by you (your human cells) after they have been metabolised by the microorganisms you carry.

Did you know those little bugs also release chemical signals? And those chemical signals can be detected and propagated using the same apparatus as your body’s own? That means the bugs in your body can actually send messages to your tissues and can stimulate the brain’s motor, sensory and emotional centres.

Let's play a little game. How much of you is you?

100%? 0%? Something in between?

I guess the answer depends on your point of view. Put it this way. According to science your human cells make up no more than 50% of the weight of your body. We do not fully understand the scope and impact of these bugs on our (human) physiology and psychology. If we look to nature for cues it gets quite interesting.

Take blue ringed octopus, for example. Their identity can be related back to two things – the capacity to kill, and the blue rings that warn of the foreboding bite. When disturbed, their salivary glands fill with a toxin that is 1200 times more deadly than cyanide. As a warning sign that they’re primed with poison, their muscles contract to reveal stacks of crystals.  

Now here is the interesting part. It is bacteria that live in the pouch of their mouth that produce the toxin... and the crystals themselves are colourless, appearing blue only as a reflection of their watery surrounds

Did you get that? It is the BACTERIA that gives the octopus the capacity to kill, and the SURROUNDING LIGHT that make their blue rings blueThe only job of the cells that are genetically octopus is to contract or pull back the curtain. It’s entire identity depends on other living forms.  

So then, who or what exactly is regulating your system? BOOM.

Your body as an eco-system; a chain of energy being transferred between different trophic levels. The highest of these is seated in the mind, the tertiary consumer. The digestive fire is to the body what the Sun is to the eco-system; the source. Your mind is limited not only by what you put in, but what gets integrated and transferred at every level.

We formulated The Yogi with the mind-gut axis in mind. Every herb has its place in restoring digestion and bringing balance to the neurochemistry of the enteric nervous system and mind.

MA // Modern Ayurvedic TM

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