At the recent Sivananda Ayurveda Conference workshop, Dr. Paul Dugliss gave a powerful workshop titled “The Anti-Aging Lifestyle.”
“Longevity and optimal health,” explained Dr. Dugliss, “can best be boiled down to one fundamental concept: LOVE.”
This is quite a big statement! He went on to explain that numerous studies have shown, and Ayurveda has known for ages, that with all other things being equal, the people who will be most likely to live long and be healthy are those who experience love in their life. This can be love for a pet, another person, love in any form. Love keeps you alive, healthy, and at peace!
Let’s take a closer look at this, beginning with defining an important concept: ojas. Ojas plays a key role in love, health and longevity. Ojas, according to Dr. Dugliss, is defined as: “That crystal-like structure in the body that is responsible for transducing the light of pure consciousness into physical energy and vibrancy.” You can think of ojas as the immune system on a physical as well as a subtle level. It is that which gives us strength, vigor, vitality, immunity. Ojas is depleted by emotions, stress, hurrying, insufficient sleep, over-exercise, excessive fasting, overexposure to wind and sun, injury or trauma, over indulgence in sexual activity, and alcohol.
Why is ojas so important? “Because,” says Dr. Dugliss, “love creates ojas, and ojas creates longevity.”
How else to nurture and create the all-important ojas?
1. All the rules and guidelines of Ayurveda are aimed at the creation of ojas. This includes living a harmonious lifestyle according to the five senses; proper food and digestion; meditation; yoga.
2. Listen to the wisdom of the body
3. Live in tune with natural law (and Ayurveda is based on natural law)
Dr. Dugliss posed the following question: “What would you say is the most important risk factor for a second heart attack in a 56 year old male who has high blood pressure, borderline diabetes, smoking, overweight, and high cholesterol? Which would you treat first? This was a bit of a trick question, because as Dr. Dugliss says “The most important medicine for this man is to know that his wife loves him” (or to experience unconditional love in some form). Those who love and are loved will be the most healthy.
Giving and receiving love begins with loving yourself. You are married to your body (whether you like it or not). What is your relationship with your body? What kind of “marriage” do you have with your body?
Do you listen to it? Do you nurture it? Do you send it loving energy?
So how to nurture yourself? Learn to think with the heart and love with the mind. Learn to develop your intuition. Your intuition will guide your body to what it needs. This involves reprogramming the mental habits that lead to stress, negativity, criticism. Self-nurturance is learning to think with the heart. The body will guide you if you listen to it.
Where is the source of love? Pure consciousness. To experience love, you need to connect to source through meditation, deep sleep, making love (tantra), spending time in nature, yoga.
Do you love chocolate? When you crave chocolate, where do you experience the longing? If you said your heart, it’s because it’s really sweetness that you crave, which is love. Nurture yourself with self-appreciation, tender words. Show yourself respect and caring. Find joy in your life experience. Give yourself love and appreciation. The chocolate craving may just go away. It isn’t what your body was looking for, it was your emotions that were experiencing a longing.
Love heals. Love enhances survival. Love works!
Paul Dugliss, MD was inspired to study and practice Ayurveda because he felt like people were not being well enough served with Western medicine. He practices Ayurvedic medicine, Ayurvedic counseling, and internal medicine. He is the author of many books, including Ayurveda: The Power to Heal; Enlightened Nutrition; Capturing the Bliss: Ayurveda and the Yoga of Emotions; The Myth of Cholesterol; and Yoga and Ayurveda. Dr. Dugliss is the founder, director, and academic dean of New World Ayurveda School, an organization that provides online training in this comprehensive system of natural medicine.
By Marisa Laursen, C.A.S., P.K.S., A.Y.T., Faculty at the California College of Ayurveda