In Ayurveda “ojas” is our vigor, strength, and immunity. When we aren’t feeling great, it is generally a depletion of this vital energy making us feel energetically, emotionally, and physically depleted. According to Ayurveda Philosophy, if we fully deplete our stores of ojas, it can lead to death as we deplete the energy that fuels our life. Luckily, there are many practices we can incorporate to boost ojas when it feels low.
According to Ayurveda philosophy, we have the capacity to store ojas as one of our three vital energies in conjunction with tejas and prana. Tejas is our inner fire and prana is the vital energy that moves and animates us. Ojas is the basis from which tejas and prana become possible. Like an oil lamp, if there is no oil (ojas), there is no flame (tejas), and there is no heat (prana). As the flame of our spirit shins on the world, we must continue to fill the lamp with the oil to feed it. This article discusses ojas and ways to boost it to create a life we love to live.
Ojas is the subtle essence of our bodily tissues and fluids that give us structure and lubrication as a result of healthy digestion. Meaning, if we eat well we will have good ojas (strength, immunity, endurance, and enthusiasm for life) and the food we take in will replenish whatever stores we use living our life. If we eat poorly or experience poor digestion for other reasons such as medications or congenital factors, our ojas will begin to deplete as our tissues begin to deteriorate. It’s important to know that our ojas is depleted and refilled every day based on our own choices. Which is good news because we can decide to make ourselves a priority to keep this vital essence of our Self flowing. If we do not, then this is what is often referred to as life happening to you instead of you living your life.
In addition to refilling what we use of our ojas, we can take preventative measures to keep it topped off in case we have times in our life when it is difficult to bolster. When our ojas is strong and full, we are more able to resist negativity from others, have a general sense of wellbeing, and meet challenges with grace.
You know your ojas is amazing if:
- You wake in the morning feeling alive and move through each day with a deep sense of contentment
- Your body is free of aches and pains
- Your skin is smooth and nourished
- You rarely, if ever, are sick
- Your eyes sparkle with joy
- You are enthusiastic about life
- Your mind is not incessantly pulling you into worry, the past, or the future
- You are not quick to anger, shame, please others
- You are deeply grounded in who you are as a person
What can you do if your ojas isn’t amazing?
- Eat foods you are able to easily digest (even though salad is “healthy,” it ight not be something you digest well and isn’t “healthy” for you)
- Spend time with those who support you most with good company, uplifting conversation, and challenge negative self talk
- Get 7-9 hours of sleep every night
- Perform self-care practices like daily abhyanga (self-oil massage), take a bath, receive a massage
- Take time to unplug from any electronic device and spend time in nature
- Use your senses to take in a starry night, feel the grass between your toes, caress the bark of a tree, aromatherapy to tantalize the nose, or enjoy some ojas milk to favor the tongue
- Meditate for at least 3 minutes every day
- Practice pranayama techniques like kapalabhati when you feel depleted and/or have a daily practice of nadi shandhana
It is safe to say we all engage in practices that deplete our ojas. Just waking up and moving the day will deplete the ojas. How we choose to live each day will determine how much we lose and how much we gain. Remember you are worth the time, the patience, and the love to make choices that fill your cup, not deplete it.
This delicious and comforting drink helps build ojas, the life-sustaining vitality that promotes immunity, according to Ayurveda.
- 1 cup raw whole organic milk or almond milk
- 10 almonds, soaked overnight, peeled and chopped
- 2 whole dates, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon powdered cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon poppy seeds
- Pinch of saffron
Place all ingredients (except saffron) in a saucepan. Bring to a low boil. If you like, use a standing blender or immersion blender to blend the mixture to a creamy consistency. Pour in a mug and add a pinch of saffron. Enjoy!