Ayurveda teaches that much like the seasons, there is a natural flow to each life stage. Infancy and childhood are marked by a predominance of kapha dosha. Adolescence through middle age are most closely linked to pitta dosha, and the winter years are marked by vata dosha. Though the aging process is inevitable—and surely we all wish to live a long and fulfilling life—we can move with grace and vitality through each life stage. One can turn with confidence to Ayurveda for longevity of life. Ayurveda offers practices, remedies, and time-tested guidance for building and sustaining wellness and extending longevity.
Ojas for Longevity
To understand Ayurveda for longevity of life, ojas is key. Ojas, defined as “vigor,” is the essential energy of the immune system. Ojas is a subtle substance that can only be built after all the other dhatus (bodily tissues) are nourished. When ojas is strong, there is health. When ojas is deficient, disease will develop. Ojas is built by maintaining good digestion and mindful eating habits, having good quality sleep, and managing energy output. In addition, there are special rejuvenating foods and herbs that build ojas, including almonds, dates, and ghee.
Rasayanas for Longevity
Rasayana is a specific branch of Ayurvedic medicine that is focused on restoring vital essence, nourishing the dhatas and slowing the aging process to ultimately promote longevity. One of the most popular herbal rasayanas is Chyawanprash. Chyawanprash is a nutrient rich jam made up of many rasayana substances, including ashwagandha, shatavari, holy basil, bacopa, saffron, and ghee. Chyawanprash helps respiratory, digestive, and circulatory function to support ojas formation and a vibrant body and mind.
Prana for Longevity
Ojas is the essence of the immune system, whereas prana is the “life force.” When a person’s prana is strong, they experience energy, health, and vitality. When prana is low, the individual may lack energy, and feel uninspired and disconnected. A chronic low-prana state will likely lead to illness, thus negatively impacting longevity.
Good quality, fresh, organic food that is prepared with love builds prana. In addition, we receive prana through the breath and connection to others. According to Ayurvedic scholar and practitioner, David Frawley (2000):
“Love itself is the highest and most nourishing form of prana. Love can keep people alive who would otherwise die. It can raise our prana from its deepest depths” (p. 357).
Putting it all together
If you are interested in building vitality and learning Ayurvedic practices for longevity of life, consider food, digestion, sleep, rasayanas, breath and connection to others. When all of these factors are brought together, you will build ojas and prana, and thereby boost your longevity. Here’s to a long and abundant life!
Frawley, D. (2000). Ayurvedic healing. Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press.