In these uncertain times, when medical systems all over the world are being overwhelmed, where people everywhere are being asked to stay home to help stop the spread of a virus that has literally brought the world to a halt, we are also paradoxically experiencing something quite wonderful. We are witnessing the ancient teachings of ‘oneness’ in action – this pandemic is reminding us that our own health cannot be separated from the health of every one of our fellow humans.
The presence of viruses that challenge health and wellbeing are very well known in Ayurveda. Ancient texts use an analogy of land and seeds. If the body (the land) is weak (filled with toxins), then the seeds will find the body a fertile place to grow. On the other hand, if the body is vibrant and strong, the seeds cannot survive. We therefore need strong bodies to fight a virus. Bodies that are Vital, Energised and have strong Immunity, or ‘Balam’.
There are 3 aspects to Balam
– we need our internal surveillance system to be strong so that our cells respond intelligently to threats
– we need our defensive system to be on line and ready to act and
– we want our Ojas to be strong.
Ojas is our very essence. Said to be like a golden honey that resides in the heart and then circulates throughout our entire body, it is what remains after the cycle of nutrition has completed and the body has taken from our foods, all that it needs to build and maintain tissues and organs. Our physical, mental and spiritual strength is totally dependent on ojas. As ojas thrives, so does the body’s immunity – meaning health, vigor, vitality and our innate ability to fend off mental and physical disease. Healthy ojas is made from a wholesome lifestyle; the quality of our nutrition and foods, activities and work, relationships and the state of harmony in which we function. Our glow, strength, virility, fertility, regeneration and overall health all depend on the supply of this precious substance.
While there is no doubt, the COVID-19 virus has had a devastating effect on many members of our community. It is also forcing us to collectively rise to the challenge of living with less, more simply, more locally and more connected to our community. We are seeing the vital importance of basic self-care. We are being given an opportunity to reconsider our lifestyle, our diet and our choices. Our planet is already benefiting. We can too.
Over the next few weeks we will share many practices from the Ayurvedic tradition that you can easily implement to help build your ojas and to support you to feel empowered and reassured to navigate these next weeks and months.
Author: Lisa Clegg