In Ayurveda there is much talk about Ojas.
But what exactly is Ojas? Is it some magical, sparkling, golden elixir like I first imagined it to be?
According to Ayurvedic guru, David Frawley, Ojas is not a physical substance, but the sap of our life energy that exists on a subtle level in the body. Ojas, described as our life force, is an elusive substance said to give vitality & strength.
Also described as the essential energy of our immune system, Ojas is said to originate in the heart, pervading the entire body, giving sparkle to the eyes, glow to the skin, and immunity to the cells.
Created by the body through the proper digestion of food, Ojas is the concentrated essence of all the dhatus (bodily tissues).
When Ojas is low, its said we are more susceptible to the development of both mental & physical disease – with time turning to chronic, degenerative disease.
Short term effects of depleted Ojas include low energy, fatigue & low motivation.
Factors said to decrease Ojas include anger, fear, worry, too much screen time, unprocessed emotions, overwork, excessive sexual activity, stress, consumption of devitalized (processed) food, refined sugars, stimulants, alcohol, caffeine, unnatural environment & lighting & lack of sleep.
Naturally decreasing with age, many of the diseases of old age reflect low ojas, while premature aging is said to be a result of low ojas.
Since first learning of Ojas, I’ve been practicing tuning into this subtle energy each day, increasing Ojas building activities as needed.
The Pita dosha in myself & many of those I see around, tends to want to push too hard, depleting this energy to the point of exhaustion. This go go go, perform, achieve, attain way of life we tend to have is what drains our ojas.
Since tuning in to this, I’ve been able to truly feel and see the toll this type of living takes on my body on those days I push too hard.
While I honor the fact that life gets busy for us all, its important we remember that we hold the power to make small changes / choices in our lives to help regain balance & health when needed and Ayurveda provides us with many ways to do this.
One of my favorite ways to develop ojas is to spend time in nature.
Others ways to develop Ojas include:
Silence – time alone without stimulation
Yoga nidra / restorative yoga
Compassion & love for self & others
Being mindful of prana (energy) – not draining all energy through overstimulation of senses
Eating slowly & mindfully
Time away from our screens - day off social media / television / computers
Eating freshly prepared food, (nothing microwaved, frozen, or reheated)
Steadiness of mind through focus of awareness
Good Nutrition: fresh, (preferably) vegetarian food – ghee, bananas, sweet potatoes, leafy greens, quinoa, nuts, oatmeal, avocado, dates, figs, honey, olive oil, coconut oil, mung daal, kitchari, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds
Leaving stomach ¼ empty when eating
Rejuvenating herbs: Ashwagandha, Chayavanprash, Bala
Keeping healthy relationships - good relationships & love rejuvenates ojas
Deep sleep, rest & naps
Jasmine, Sandalwood or camphor essential oil + coconut or sesame oil massage
Flowers / plants in the home
Removal of clutter – keeping a tidy space
I invite you to take the time to close your eyes, take a deep breath & tune into this subtle energy. Does your ojas need boosting? Pick a practice from above if so. 😊