A balanced life -style can reduce the effects of stress on the organism. Stress or what we call the improper reaction to stress markers can cause many dis-eases likes of heart diseases, diabetes, ulcers and asthma etc. Science has proven that irregular and improper eating and sleeping habits can cause stress which can increase blood cholesterol, stomach acid, low immunity, viral infections and can aggravate into cancer like dreaded diseases.
Stress occurs when one has to adapt to a change in life. Every time your environment, be it physical, mental, emotional, social or spiritual surroundings changes, you must also change along with it and develop new equilibrium with it. Your endurance and resilience to these bounce back to your norm even after serious lowest of blows life has to throw at you is your immunity. Increased stress has direct relation with your immunity. More stress weaker the immune system. No one is immune from the effects of stress. For example children as yet unborn sometimes develop peptic ulcers. But whatever may be cause of stress or timing of stress your reaction to it is determined by your constitution, and depends on how your genes instruct you to react. What-ever may be your reaction, a specific pattern of VATA-PITTA-KAPHA derangement must develop in order for a specific disease to manifest in an individual. Whatever is the pattern of this derangement it is due to your weakness of Ojas and immunity according to Ayurveda Wisdom.
Prana, Tejas & Ojas:
Prana is life force equivalent to Chi or Ki in Oriental medicine. It strings body, mind and spirit together on a single strand of breath like pearls on a thread and enables them to act together as single organism. Tejas is the force of transmutation which permits the body, mind and spirit to influence one another in spite of their different planes of existence. Ojas is the subtlest manifestation of the force of immunity, which is your individuality, the glue which cements these pieces together and integrates your being. Prana, Tejas & Ojas unite the body, mind and the spirit.
Vata, pitta and kapha the three doshas are the gross manifestation of Prana, Tejas and Ojas which are not doshas at all. Vata is unstable form of Prana which is its peak essence. Pitta is more reactive form of Tejas and kapha is more inert form of Ojas. When physical, mental and spiritual digestions are at its peak Vata, Pitta and Kapha are produced from Prana, Tejas and Ojas in quantities just sufficient to perform necessary body functions. Poor digestion allows greater production of these reactive by-products, reducing thereby the amount of the essential forces which organism needs to sustain itself disease free. Increased Vata Pitta and Kapha also require their excess excretion which causes further energy loss. Hence one’s immunity is compromised.
We obtain Prana from our atmosphere and our food. Breathing recharges Prana immediately. Prana is not oxygen, any more than kapha is mucus or pitta is bile. Prana is the life force ; oxygen is one of its constituents. Food and water carry Prana.
While most of our nutrients are absorbed into circulation through our small intestine, Prana is absorbed from the colon. Oxygen molecules are carriers of Prana. The health of our lungs and colon determines how much Prana we can absorb and thus how alive we feel. When lungs and large intestine ( colon ) function inefficiently, our bodies absorb Prana inefficiently as well and as in result Vata is increased.
Vata and Prana both are similar in their nature both being airy, intense, light and expansive. However Vata when increased in the body is not inherently balancing or nutritive as is Prana. Unless excess Vata is regularly excreted from the system it causes dis-eases. Disturbed Vata can cause many diseases but it has special affinity for bone tissue. The health of bones is intimately tied to health of lungs and colon. Therefore Ayurveda / Yoga wisdom says keep bones, colon and breath moving. Pathologies of Bones, lungs and colon are therefore related. And balancing one of these organs will benefit the others. That is why a medicated Enema can control an attack of asthma.
Tejas is fire; just as bellows inflames a hearth fire, Prana inflames Tejas. In a stable mind discrimination is strong and Tejas burns cleanly and is transferred efficiently in the body. When mind is affected by motion or inertia or power of discrimination is agitated by memory or swamped by emotions, Tejas gets perverted and its transfer into the body produces greater amounts of Pitta. Toxins in the body enter our blood and affect our digestion as for Tejas to properly nourish the physical digestion depends on blood, liver and spleen which are the organs that controls blood in the brain. To maintain proper Tejas in the body one must keep blood , liver and spleen clean.
Ojas is the medium through which the force of Tejas is transmitted. Both physical and mental digestion is strong if force of Ojas is strong. Ojas and Kapha are closely related. Weakened digestion causes increased kapha production and promotes production of metabolic toxins called Aam. Aam is sinister counterpart of Ojas. Ojas is a substance unlike Tejas and Prana which means it can be produced, collected and stored. Anything that increases Vata decreases Ojas, e.g.; dry stale foods, excessive sun, wind, worry, fear, sorrow, fasting from sleep, excessive body weight loss. Loss of Sukra ( the semen tissue) which directly nourishes Ojas in the individual affects its quantity and quality. That is why sexual restraint is recommended in Ayurveda and Yoga both. When Ojas is strong, Tejas can properly digest and assimilate foods to nourish all body tissues of Plasma, blood, muscles, adipose fat, Bone, Bone marrow and sexual fluids, semen and ovum( Sukra and Arthava). Ojas is the foundation of your physical immunity, and produces your aura. Your aura is first line of defense. It is a buffer against negativity which is bombarded consciously or unconsciously on us. Weak Ojas allow more negativity to seep in and weaken our internal defence by increasing internal disharmony. These are essential defence forces which nature has gifted us to maintain through constant inclusion of Ayurveda wisdom and its maintenance via regular Yoga practice we can reach to our highest potential to reach our goal in life.
Om Healing Center and Yoga School Contributor: Renu Chaudhary, Ayurveda Medicine Practioner