Vyadhikshamatva, concept of immunity as per Ayurveda has been described the ability to win over diseases by the body. Bala and Oja are akin to immunity. These are the substances of vitality and nourishment of life, whereas their decline leads to termination of life. Bala refers to the strength of the body to be able to tussle through the physical stress to the body. Oja is one of the most vital substances for the maintenance and sustenance of life. Omnipresent in the human body, Ojas is the essence of the seven Dhatus of the body from Rasa to Shukra. Ojas is responsible for essentially the psychological health of the being besides nourishing his physical and immunological self. Having optimum Bala and/or Oja creates resistance to the disease and ceases its progression.
Immunity is our body’s inbuilt defence mechanism to fight against diseases, infections or other unwanted foreign bodies, while counterbalancing their allergic reactions. In today’s times with new diseases emerging now and then, the mankind needs to abort dependence on external sources of health like drugs, chemicals and boost the body’s system of health and immunity. Ayurveda, the unbeaten science of health, emphasises on preventive ways of life. These preventive ways strengthen the body’s ability to prevent the diseases and fight against the diseases.
The Bala or Immunity is of three types:
- Sehaja Bala– Innate/Constitutional Immunity- Intrinsic immunity of the person is gained at the time of formation of the foetus. This depends on the health of sperm and ovum, time and place, mental status of parents (sattwika, rajasika, or mansika).
- Kaalaja Bala– Temporal Immunity- Immunity that develops and fluctuates with the change of season and condition of time. It depends upon seasons, and age of the person. Immunity is highest during youth and lowest at 0-10 years, >55 years of age.
- Yuktikrita Bala– Acquired Immunity- Immunity that develops with intentional inputs to diet, activities and other regimes such as taking proper combination of meals, right exercise, right practices to maintain the good digestive fire and Sattwa.
Harms to Ojas:
- Abuse to Lifestyle: Abnormal waking and sleeping patterns, not taking care of the needs of the body, being lazy or extremely active.
- Abuse to Food: Consuming wrong food at any time; consuming any food, good or bad, at wrong times; wrong food combinations; binge eating or complete abstinence from food.
- Abuse to Senses: Indulging excessively in the perceiving the subjects of all the eleven senses leads to deteriorating the Oja.
- Abuse to Thoughts: Excessive worries, fears, anger, attachment, greed, resentment, suspicion are keeping us constantly under stress and anxiety. A lot are in the state of crisis. Our body’s system is always ‘on’ and never at rest, which is exhausting, causing poor sleep, poor digestion, and low ojas/immunity.
- Abuse to Addictions: Abusing Psychological addictions, taking consort in negative thoughts, victimisation; Physical addictions, mobile, television, games; or chemical addictions, alcohol, marijuana, among others.
These aggravate the formation of toxins in the body, and debilitate the body’s ability to eliminate these toxins. Their unwanted accumulation in the body, creates an inadequacy of Sattwa and Oja, thus weakening the defence mechanism of the body and making it prone to catching infections.
How do we know whether our immune system is compromised?
Here are a few points to help you assess our Immune system to some extent.
- Problems with Digestion- Gastric troubles, Gas, Acidity, Diarrhoea, Constipation, Nausea.
- Fatigue- Do we feel no amount of sleep is ever enough? Being lethargic all the time may be another symptom of having low immunity, because the body is trying to reserve the energy to fight against the diseases eventually.
- Catching frequent infections- Cold and/or cough, flu; Ear infections; Fungal infections. First lines of defence are skin, nasal mucosa-respiratory tract and gut mucosa- digestive tract.
- Need of more than 4 courses of antibiotics per year.
- Staying stressed, anxious- Even modern researches have proved that stress has an indirect relationship with the lymphocytes (immune cells of the body).
- Addictions: Continual of above-mentioned addictions and having difficulty to stop abusing them even though they are causing psychological and physical harm is a sign of weakend system and lack of Oja.
Our immunity is poor due to the modern, sedentary lifestyle. Improving immunity begins with alteration in daily lifestyle, dinacharya, and following the morals of Sadvritta. We need to wake up in the morning; express Gratitude towards our Higher Power, God, Almighty; salutations to parents; drink a glass or two of lukewarm water; wash our hands, face; brush our teeth, scrape our tongue; do yoga, pranayama and then continue with the daily routine, thus increasing our immunity. Following Sadvritta, adds to the credit of morals, thus increasing our Sattwa. Read more about improving immunity with Ayurveda.
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