Yoga Practice is firmly grounded
1.14 sa tu dirghakala nairantarya satkara asevitah drdhabhumih
This body and mind become part of the earth when the practice is performed for a long time without interruption and with zeal
- Dirghakala – kal- celebrity, accelerate
- Satkara – sat-truth, kara- from karma, to grow
Do it carefully, don’t take shot cuts, don’t do it sloppily
- Drdhabhumih – bhu- solid basis of all things, to be, to become, to build
The practice of ayurveda and yoga is slow and systematic in order to cultivate the prana, agni and ojas. The bhumih is the solid base of Ojas that first must be cultivated. This takes dedicated effort without interruption. Ojas is created in many ways. One of the primary ways it is created is through proper nutrition. The nutrients that we consume goes through seven transformative cycles at each tissue layer ending in the most complex layer the reproductive fluid. Each transformative cycle takes about five days. That means that the principles of correct diet must be maintained for 35 consecutive days in order to create one drop of ojas. Stress depletes ojas. By insulating ourselves against stress and by maintaining the composure of the mind through positive feelings we do not disturb the production of Ojas. We cannot produce ojas if we are trying to find short cuts or doing things sloppily. Ojas is best produced when we move carefully and consciously.
The cultivation of Ojas allows us to continue the practice for a long time with zeal. Without adequate Ojas we easily become fatigued and can’t continue the practice. Ojas is related to the Earth element and like a gardener first the earth must be fortified before we can grow our crops. It is the disturbances of the mind that are most damaging to Ojas. When we are grounded and centered like the earth then our Ojas is not disrupted. If we give in to fear then our prana is moved out of the body and is focused on forces outside our circle of influence. Ojas works to keep prana integrated into the body and when the prana is not within then the body loses its ability to stay centered and to operate from subtle and deep locations. When this happens the body is filled with vata.
Ultimately the careful storage and cultivation of prana ignites agni and the agni stays radiant from the fuel of ojas. Then we radiate like the sun. That is why Ojas is considered the source of the body’s metabolic energy in the form of Jatharagni.
The cultivation of Ojas is in direct relationship to the health of the primary tissue or blood plasma called rasa dhatu. Foods that have a sweet taste cool potency and a sweet post digestive effect are nourishing to the rasa dhatu. When rasa is healthy then each tissue layer can be nourished. The foods that nourish each layer include:
- Rasa – some dairy products, fruits and oils
- Rakta – Molasses, black grapes, carrots and beets
- Mamsa – Meat, grains and nuts build
- Medas – Oils, dairy, wheat and nuts
- Asthi – Bone soups
- Majja – Ghee , butter and nuts
- Shukra – Milk, ghee, almonds and sesame seeds
As Ojas is the end product of the nourishment of the tissues it relies on good digestion and a balanced diet.
OTHER WAYS TO INCREASE OJAS
- Develop consciousness through meditation.
- Positivity in feelings, speech and behavior.
- Love, joy, and appreciation
- Panchakarma or Ayurvedic purification
- Rasayanas or special Ayurvedic herbal and mineral substances.
- Chavanprash or other herbal rejuvenatives with honey.
- Honoring the cycles of nature. The presence of foods as they appear in order out of the ground is not coincidence; but rather an ancient agreement between all living things to feed and be fed at the appropriate time.
- Affirmations or mantra
- Creative pursuits that bring joy
- Wear ornaments that contain gems
- Relaxation or other more restful and feminine activities
FACTORS THAT DECREASE OJAS
- Entertaining negative emotions of any kind.
- Excessive exercise.
- Fasting excessively.
- Rough or very light diet.
- Overexposure to wind and sun.
- Staying awake through much of the night.
- Excessive loss of body fluids (such as blood).
- Overindulgence in sexual activity.
- Injury or trauma to the body.
- Alcoholic beverages.
IMPROVING OJAS IN THE MIND
Ojas is cultivated in the same way that the Buddha says all sorrows can be conquered. That is by good conduct, faith, enthusiasm, remembrance, concentration and right knowledge. All of these characteristics create the mental and intellectual firmness in order to cultivate ojas. As these traits create more Ojas there is an experience of physical and nervous system strength.
HOW TO APPROACH YOGA
Many approach the path of yoga with the same mindset that they approach their jobs or the material world. They are greedy and they expect instant gratification. This approach does not work. The practitioner must recognize that at a minimum it will take seven years for their effort to bear fruit. They must recognize that success in the yogic arts is not the same as success in the material world, and when life abounds with challenges they must stay the course and weather the storm. Lastly, the path must be trodden with humility and reverence. Recognition of the gift of this path and the gift of karmic seeds that allows one to even hear of the path or to practice is a huge blessing and cannot be underrepresented.
The practice of life is rarely lunar, but the practice of Ayurveda utilizes feminine qualities that tend to be absent from our masculine mentality.
Cultivating our ability to be reflective, intuitive and sensitive are the primary ways in which to cultivate Ojas. These are the qualities that will provide benefit in our yoga practice. We will recognize our progress in practice by the fundamental changes that take place in our minds. Deep seated habit patterns will give us up and we will begin to effortlessly make the changes that minimize our negative conditioning.