Written by John Immel,
Ayurveda speaks of 3 types of tonics: Those that restore and build tissues, those that stimulate and improve energy in organ systems, and those that aid in regulation of bodily processes (hormones, etc). Balancing these three basic vital forces is the key to your longevity, rejuvenation, and resiliency, as well as successful, happy living. They include healthy, well nourished tissue (ojas), regulation of bodily processes (tejas), and energy levels (prana).
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Strong fertility is a sign of ojas because the body nourishes reproductive organs only after other tissues have been nourished. In a sense, your body's ability to nourish reproductive organs is dependent upon the confidence that your survival needs are assured. Food that is high in ojas also feeds the genital organs.
Ojas is said to have the smell of burnt rice and the color of ghee. Some ojas building foods include ghee, rice, milk, sugar, almonds, and raisins. The body transforms food into ojas through digestion and metabolism.
Maintenance of ojas requires conservation of your vital energy (prana), as well as a healthy metabolism (tejas) to refine the quality of your fluids and tissues. Inability to nourish yourself, lack of self-care and self-nurture create internal insecurity and ojas deficiency. Over-exertion can further deplete Ojas. If you are underweight, you might be ojas deficient. Hyperactivity and erratic behavior indicate a lack of satisfaction also associated with deficient Ojas.
A person who is overweight with clammy skin might have lots of ojas, but poor quality because the tissues are toxic and overwhelmed with fluids. Poor quality ojas is similar to ama and mucous.
Immune modulators and adaptogens are herbs which help the body regulate.
Any imbalance or stress on the body may cause a lack of prana. Lack of prana is characterized by weak function and low energy, which is perhaps a complication of:
Treatment usually involves addressing the root cause, but can also include rebuilding vital minerals and nutrients (Ex: Alfalfa sprouts, seaweed, etc), and mild stimulation (mild bitter or pungent taste). A person who is very weak may need restoratives before they can be stimulated.
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About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda biocharacteristics. His approach to Ayurveda is clinical, yet exudes an ease which many find enjoyable and insightful. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda, offering professional clinical training in Ayurveda for over 15 years.
John's interest in Ayurveda and specialization in digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, as well as public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well. Outside of work, John enjoys spending time with his wife and 6 kids, and pursuing his love of theology, philosophy, and language.
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I'm acquainted with Prana through yoga and really enjoy this more comprehensive explanation of life energy. Very helpful!