Behavioral Rasayanas—Enhancing Immunity, Balance and Happiness Through Our Thoughts and Action

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In Ayurveda, a “rasayana” is anything that makes the body stronger. Although we usually hear the word in reference to herbs and herbal formulas, such as Maharishi Amrit Kalash, an important part of Ayurveda is Achar Rasayana, or behavioral rasayana, which include specific behaviors that rejuvenate the body, increase lifespan and culture bliss and higher states of consciousness.

Behavioral rasayana works because any thought in the mind, or any action we perform, has a powerful effect on the body. Many scientific studies on the mind-body connection have shown that every time we have a thought or feeling, some chemical is produced in the body.

These neurochemicals, as they are called, are extremely powerful For example, one type of neurochemical, called endorphins, are natural pain killers produced by the brain and are at least 50 times more powerful than morphine. It turns out that our own brain is the most powerful pharmaceutical factory in the world.

We just need to know how to use the brain properly, how to produce positive chemicals rather than negative ones. Negative emotions—such as anger, jealousy, frustration, fear, and grief—cause harmful neurochemicals to be produced: chemicals which break down the body’s functioning. Positive thoughts and actions, on the other hand, can be powerful tools for strengthening our physiologies and improving our health.

Ayurveda identifies one biochemical in particular, called ojas, which is enhanced through rasayana of any kind. Ojas is the finest aspect of material creation, the junction point between consciousness and matter. It is as much consciousness as it is physical. Ojas nourishes the body‑—the more ojas, the better your health, immunity, balance, purity and happiness. That is why the entire purpose of the Ayurveda treatment programs offered at The Raj Maharishi Ayurveda Health Spa is to maintain all the physiological structures and functioning in such a way that ojas is constantly generated and maintained at its more efficient level of functioning. An Ayurvedic expert in the technique of Ayurveda Pulse Assessment can identify your level of ojas and give recommendations on how to increase ojas in the body.

The Charaka Samhita, one of the principal texts of Ayurveda, describes ojas as a fluid substance located in the heart. From the heart, ojas circulates throughout the entire body and maintains immunity, strength of muscles, stamina, and a healthy glow to the skin.

Because it is the seat of feeling, the heart can be directly affected by our feelings and emotions. Thus behavioral rasayana, which creates a positive effect on the whole physiology—including the heart—, increases the production of ojas.

Here is a list of traditional Behavioral Rasayanas that help create a harmonizing effect in the physiology and increase the production of ojas. The idea is to keep them lively in the mind, but do not stain to remember or follow them.

BEHAVIORAL RASAYANAS

Transcend on a regular basis.

Speak truthfully but sweetly.

Speak well of others: never spread gossip.

Be free of anger.

Abstain from alcohol and immoderate behavior.

Be nonviolent and calm.

Be charitable to others: help people in need, especially those with no livelihood or those in grief.

Help even those who might have mistreated you.

Keep yourself, your clothing and your environment neat, clean and well groomed.

Be respectful of teachers and elders.

Be loving and compassionate.

Do not disclose enmities. Never disclose insults inflicted upon you.

Keep a regular routine.

Culture a simple state of awareness and simple, guileless behavior.

Keep the company of the wise.

Maintain a positive outlook.

Be self-controlled and follow the precepts of your religious beliefs.

Devote yourself to the knowledge and development of high states of consciousness.

Enjoy the good qualities of others.

Welcome visitors with an open heart.

Do good and be silent. Accept good and sing the givers praise.

Don’t lose balance through wealth.

Greet another first.

Maintain untainted belief in friends

For information on Ayurveda programs and consultations, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa website:

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Understanding Ojas

According to Ayurveda, Ojas is the finest material substance in the body—in fact it is as much consciousness as it is matter. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who founded the Transcendental Meditation technique and inspired the revival of Ayurveda in its comprehensive and integrated form, referred to Ojas as a “lamp at the door”—the junction point between consciousness and matter—lighting both inside and outside.

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Because Ojas links consciousness and matter, it serves to integrate the whole mind/body system when it is properly enlivened and maintained. It is Ojas that allows all the contradictory values of physiology and mental functioning to be bound together, acting like a cosmic glue. The more Ojas, the better your health, and the stronger your immunity, balance, and happiness.

Shrotas, Channels and the Gap

The traditional Ayurveda purification treatments, known as Panchakarma, help promote Ojas in the body. When Ojas is produced in the body, it provides a channel for consciousness to flow into matter.  Ojas is the finest physical value of biological intelligence. And that finest physical value needs to flow through the body through proper, unobstructed channels. These channels are known in Ayurveda as “shrotas.”

On the grossest level, the “shrotas” or channels can be seen as blood vessels, lymph circulation channels, capillaries, cellular pores, etc. But if we look more closely, we find that shrota represents the space through which intelligence flows—the gap that allows transformation from one value of matter into another. Shrotas, then, are gaps in the body.

Most people think of a gap as emptiness, a place where nothing exists. But according to Maharishi Ayurveda, all healing mechanisms operate in the gaps.

Musicians tell us that the rests, the silences between the notes, and also the upbeats, the spaces between the main beats, are where music’s life really comes from. “Take care of the gaps, the silences,” said a gifted soprano, “and everything else takes care of itself. The music flows forward naturally.”

It is the same with the creation of anything in the universe. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi said the gap is the “lively nothingness” that allows the transformation of one state of matter to another. This includes the transformation of imbalance to balance.

Actually, the whole body can be viewed as nothing other than gap. One of the principle texts of Ayurveda, the Charaka Samhita, says, shroto mayo purushan, which means, “the whole physiology is nothing other than gap.” The entire body is a shrota for the flow of biological intelligence. The body is an innocent channel that reflects the beauty and wisdom of nature’s intelligence.

By purifying the shrotas, nature’s intelligence (physically manifested as Ojas) can flow freely throughout the body. This is why having regular Panchakarma treatments supports the prevention of disease. By keeping the channels of the body clear, Ojas—that lively intelligence that links consciousness and matter—finds no obstacle to its free flow and functioning.

This is the specialty of Panchakarma…linking oil massages with consciousness, heat treatments with the intelligence of nature.

For information on Panchakarma treatments, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa website:

www.theraj.com

Ojas and Ama: the Dynamics of Staying Healthy with Ayuveda

Today let’s talk about ojas and ama. According to Ayurveda, ojas is the most subtle and powerful substance in the body. Maharishi Ayurveda takes ojas to another level: the material expression of the self-interacting dynamics of consciousness. It is what allows the nonmaterial intelligence to communicate with the material physiology. In other words, it is the substance that connects the mind and body to consciousness.

Ojas is the finest, the most refined by-product of digestion. It nourishes all body tissues and has a direct influence on the nature and quality of physical, mental and emotional life. It is the subtle substance that maintains life itself. When your physiology produces the optimum quality and quantity of ojas, you feel healthy and blissful. Your mind/body is getting the sustenance it needs to function at optimum levels. Ojas is characterized by health, happiness, lightness, immunity and overall strength in the body.

Ojas’ primary location is the heart, from where it circulates to and pervades the entire body.

The opposite of ojas is ama, the sticky end product of undigested food. Ama lowers immunity as it spreads throughout the physiology and it clogs the channels that carry nourishment to the cells and the channels that remove wastes. It also blocks the micro-channels that are part of the immune system, making us susceptible to infection. Maintaining a healthy digestive fire, or “agni”, is one of the most important principles of Ayurveda. A strong and effective digestion allows us to absorb the nutrients and essential elements needed by our physiology and at the same time effectively burns of waste products. If our agni is weak and our food is not digested properly, toxic residue, or ama, builds up in our tissues and cells.

For this reason, the number one recommendation for maintaining robust health is to put attention on maintaining good digestion. As the season transitions from summer to fall, the influence of Vata increases and the quality of Vata in our own physiology can become imbalanced. Vata is the responsible for all motion-related process in the body, including digestion and elimination. Fall and early winter are especially important times to be alert to our diet and digestion.

Enhancing ojas and removing and preventing the build up of ama are the basis of good health, and it is the goal of all treatments and therapies of Maharishi Ayurveda.

Panchakarma, the traditional detoxification and purification therapies of Ayurveda, are designed to eliminate ama and increase the flow of ojas. The Ayurvedic texts describe this process as “strota shuddi”—”opening the channels of communication”. Panchakarma keeps every part of the body in contact with nature’s innate balancing and healing process.

Regular consolations are also helpful. An Ayurvedic expert can evaluate the levels of ojas and ama in your physiology using the Ayurveda technique of Pulse Assessment. Seasonal transitions are a good time to schedule a consultation and get recommendations to tune up your diet and lifestyle so that you can avoid colds and the flu in the coming season.

Over the next two weeks I’ll look once again into how to maintain good digestion and also review the mechanics of Panchakarma. For more information about Panchakarma or to schedule a consultation, visit website for The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa:

www.theraj.com