Prana is our vital life force energy. Our body is the physical manifestation of prana. Prana is the difference between a living person and a dead person. Thinking, feeling, perceiving, breathing, rest, and exercise all reflect prana within us. Prana comes into our body via food, water, air, and sensory impressions. There is an abundance of prana in organic foods, homemade foods prepared with loving hands, pure water, nature, and good thoughts and intentions. Balanced prana yields a healthy enthusiasm for life. Deficient prana leads to depression, loss of motivation and enthusiasm.
Disease is an imbalance in prana, and the 3 doshas reflect the 3 statuses of prana. There are many different methods for working on increasing prana in the body. Prana can be transferred thru the sense of touch; hence body work is a component of Ayurveda. Body work helps loosen pranic blockages in muscles and bones. Herbs aid the processes of digestion, elimination and sweat in order that proper movement of prana can occur. Prana can also be increased by meditation and mantras. Meditation helps to open the prana in the mind. Mantras energize prana. Prana physically feeds our ojas, and ojas feeds our aura.
Ojas is the physical and energetic container of all 7 physical tissues of the body. Ojas is the highest nourishment derived from food that keeps the body fresh and alive, and is the ultimate result of digestion, metabolism, absorption and assimilation. Ojas is formed after the 7 physical tissues of the body (plasma, blood, muscle, fat, bone, bone marrow and reproductive tissue) have formed. Therefore, the quality of ojas is determined by the quality of food and water that is taken into the body. If one eats high prana foods and has good digestion, then good ojas will be formed. It has a physical nature because it is the most subtle essence of food, but it also has an energetic quality because it feeds our aura. Ojas is the bridge between our physical aspect of our nature and our energetic nature. This subtle food essence transforms via the agni (digestive fire or pitta) into the vitality or the energy in every cell to live and grow. Ojas provides vibrancy in our being; it is our deeper strength and immunity formed through proper digestion.
Ojas helps one endure stress, prevents prana from dissipating from the body, and creates a vibrant, healthy immune system. People with ojas just look healthy and glowing, like they have just been on holiday or just fallen in love. Babies have lots of ojas, and that is what makes them so appealing to us.
Deficient ojas leads to mental fatigue and loss of mental stability. Signs of low ojas include dryness in the body, constipation, gas, anxiety, fear, inflammation, intense emotions, anger, resentment, allergies, sensitivities, autoimmune issues, chronic illness, mental fatigue, and loss of mental stability.
Balanced ojas yields good mental stamina and is responsible for perfect health, positive feelings, healthy thought patterns, love, joy, better immunity, longevity, intelligence, creativity, memory, bliss, and higher states of consciousness.
Things that increase ojas include proper sleep, love, right diet, deep breathing, non-reactive thinking, and tonifying therapies. Foods like milk, ghee, and almonds can increase ojas, and herbs and herbal pastes like ashwagandha, shatavari, and chyavanprash can too.
Aura is the vital energy field surrounding the whole body and includes the physical and subtle planes. Aura is our energy field through which prana circulates, and is made of the 5 koshas. The aura encloses all bodily functions, nadis, and chakras. Aura strength depends on ojas (essence of tissue) strength. It is the energy behind subtle immune system and protects the body from negative psychic influences. A strong aura prevents subtle energies from entering the subtle body and protects the body from negative psychic influences. If ojas is weak and these subtle energies enter, then they can become embedded in subtle body and cause disease. In other words, disruption of aura equals disease.
Indicators of healthy aura include luster in the eyes, complexion, willpower, creativity, integrity, and vibrant pulse. These are the same indicators of healthy ojas, and healthy ojas is derived from high prana foods and sensory intakes.
Things that weaken the aura include not treating the root cause of disease, giving the mind over to external influence, not listening to our inner voice, excess stimulation, travel, exercise, immoderate sex, excessive sensory use, radiation, environmental pollution, and mass media.
Things that strengthen aura include removing ourselves from devitalizing locations and situations, energy drains, changing negative attitudes and emotions, right thought, right action, pranayama (breath practices), gems, mantra, and meditation.
Why do we care about prana, ojas, and aura?
They seem so artificial and ethereal. They are very real, and we care about them because we are healing the body on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level. Healing may start out on a physical level, but all levels are healed, even if we don’t realize it.