Cultivate Friendship, Compassion, and Joy
Ayurvedic Insight in the Yoga Sutra 1.33
Tranquility of thought comes through the cultivation of friendship, compassion, joy and impartiality in spheres of pleasure or pain, virtue or vice.
- Maîtri- love for others
- Karuna- constant desire to take away the pain of others to stop the root of suffering, related to the English word crypt. To cover the lord of your heart
- Mudita- happy to the point of intoxication
- Upeksanam- impartially, a higher seeing that allows to be willing to do if for everyone
- up- up above,
- iksh- to see
- Dys- dysfunction, disease
OJAS CREATES TRANQUILITY
Ojas is the the essence of Kapha and it determines our vitality and immunity. Immunity is dependent on digestion, the liver function and the integrated function of our hormones. Ojas determines the vitality with which we combat foreign pathogens. When our Agni is healthy then we create Ojas. The Ojas that we create protects the prana we cultivate in our yoga practice. Ojas is the essence of the earth in which the divine dance of prana animates all things. Ojas is our ability to say yes to life. To say yes to any and all experiences that come our way because we trust we have the energy and intelligence to make the most of them. When we do this our heart becomes full and we are able to surrender to life. In this experience of radical acceptance we are satisfied with whatever comes and we open our minds to be able to understand our life circumstances and to become awake through them.
The qualities are the result of ojas and ojas is increased by their cultivation. As ojas is found in the heart anytime there is a disturbance in the heart then ojas is depleted. The disorders of Ojas are:
Ojo-Visramsa (Displaced Ojas)– Ojas is stored in the heart. When it is displaced then it will disturb every cell in the body. This can happen when vyanavayu is not functioning properly and there is a leakage of the ojas. It can also occur when the dhatuagni’s are vishama (variable), This leads to poor quality and quantity of the tissues. This is the intial stage of imbalance associated with Ojas. When it is displaced it allows the doshas to move out of balance and cause disturbances in other areas of the body. Some signs of displaced ojas are:
- Hyperflexible joints
- Fatigue with light exertion
- Displacement of doshas
- Dificulty speaking
- Cold hands and feet
- Dull pain all over the body
Ojo-Vyapat (Disturbed Ojas)– When ojas is not returned to the heart then it can become disturbed and cause more severe imbalances. The normal functions of ojas including immunity, structure, and stability within the body and mind are significantly altered leading to depletion. Signs of disturbed ojas are:
- Stiffness in the joints and lethargy
- Swelling and poor hydration
- Changes in the luster of the skin
- A lack of motivation
- Chronic fatigue
- Excessive sleep and waking up feeling unrested
OjasKsya (Wasting of Ojas)– When Ojas is consistently disturbed and it not being adequately manufactured then there is a significant loss of Ojas. This leads to the most severe symptoms and is the hardest to remedy. These symptoms include:
- Wasting of bodily tissues
- Dazed and confused
Derangement of Ojas Leading to Disease
Ojas is strongly effected by our emotional state and our digestion. Long term disruption of either of these will weaken the production of kapha which is the unrefined form of Ojas. It also increases the production of ama or toxicity which will clog the channels and promote a further decline in the production of ojas. It is important to remedy the lifestyle, behavioral and dietary causes of imbalnce before they end up in deficiency.
Displaced ojas is caused by vata disturbances. Excessive activity, variable digestion, and an overexpenditure of energy can all lead to displaced Ojas.
Disrupted ojas is primarily caused by pitta. A excessively goal oriented attitude, to many stimulants, and overconsumption can all lead to disrupted ojas.
Effort is related to Pitta and stress is related to Vata. Both diminish our ojas. When we learn to be effortless within our yoga practice then the unimpeded flow of prana can work through us.
This aligns our attention with our intention.
When what we focus on is what we truly intend for our life then our mind begins to find alignment with our soul’s deepest longing. Within a meaningful life effortless awareness arises and we become quiet. In this stillness Ojas awakens and it blossoms into an experience of peace and love. Ojas opens the door to connection with our source.
Both vata and pitta lead to a weakened ojas. Another category called unprocessed Ojas is the result of Kapha. When ama is in excess then the dhatuagni’s and the srotamsi that carry nutrition do not function properly leading to unrefined Ojas or an excess of Kapha.
As we have seen ojas is either unprocessed, injured, or deficient. Once we determine the primary cause then we can choose postures that target a location to bring Ojas back into that area of the body. The five locations where Ojas is held and created are related to the five subdoshas of Kapha
Imbalances of Kapha are also imbalances in Ojas.
As Ojas deals with the ehart and emotions directly it is important to cultivate an attitude that can accept emotions as they arise and not repress them. It is through experiencing our emotions that Ojas is able to be maintained and not become diminished. For many of us this is easier said than done and that is why practices such as meditation, yoga and psychotherapy may be required in order to create a space for Ojas to be found in the body.
Do not fall into the trap of trying to reform others. Treat them with love, and treat yourself as your best friend would treat you. It is thorugh this practice that you can strengthen your mind and prepare yourself for the deeper practice of yoga.