This article explains the Ayurvedic concept of Ojas and includes a recipe for our Ojas Delight Drink below.
Ojas, is our life juice, our reserve of energy, and the essential soma that sustains life in our body. It is the pure essence that supports our living tissues and that which gives us luster and deep vitality. Ojas strengthens and integrates the mind, body and spirit and is the unctuousness that soothes and softens, allowing us to experience contentment and joy in the life.
Ojas is our resistance to degeneration of the body and subtle energy underlying the immunity against dis-ease.
When impaired, Ojas causes Vata conditions such as chronic diseases such as fatigue, low libido, various nervous disorders and premature aging, as well as degenerative conditions such as cancers. Hence rebuilding Ojas is a key therapy for the Vata type or condition. Ayurveda focuses on nourishing the essential nectar of “Amrit” to create more Ojas – strength, vitality and longevity. The importance of understanding and improving agni (our digestive fire) is essential to the ability to create Ojas in our bodies, as Ojas may only be created from properly digested and assimilated foods.
We can look at our life as being a candle. We all know the phrase “don’t burn the candle at both ends” and what it implies. Ojas can be likened to the candle wax of our life. Tejas is the heat and light that we radiate and Prana is the awareness that this light sheds upon our subtle selves. If the candle is wide and tall, the life will be strong and withstand the fluctuations of the winds of circumstance. If the candle is thin or small, it is fragile and needs to be protected, as it is easily blown out or drips to a puddle, prematurely extinguishing the light of our life. We need to understand how to build our Ojas so we have the necessary ‘wax of life’ to shine our full potential in this world.
Ojas is decreased when our bodies are exposed to stress, anger, worry, overwork, excessive sexual activity, drugs and stimulants, processed foods, and unnatural lifestyle rhythms. A weak digestive system – Agni – also limits our ability to Ojas. Premature birth and cutting of the umbilical cord also induces a weak original Ojas.
Ojas is increased by:
- Foods – such as tonic foods such as organic ghee, milk, curds, honey, almonds, dates, figs, whole grains, root vegetables, squash, cold pressed oils, seeds/ nuts and sweet fruits.
- Good digestion– Most Ojas-building foods are dense and therefore require digestives, such as our DIGEST AID blend, in order for the body to be able to extract the essential goodness that these foods offer us. Ingesting heavy foods without the ability to digest them properly will not create Ojas – rather it may create ama (toxins). See Agni for more understanding of this central concept.
- Tonic herbs – such as Ashwagandha, Shatavari, Amalaki, Kapikachu, Praval and Gaduchi. Our STRENGTH formula is designed primarily to rebuild Ojas, and is available in either powder or capsule form, together with sweet herbs to stimulate the digestion of such rich essential nutrition.
- Meditative practices – including alternate nostril breathing and gentle forms of pranayama, as well as toning, chanting, and singing. Developing serenity and equanimity of mind from meditative practices allow for a detachment from the material world so that we do not drain our energy in mundane mental or emotional matters, but live with a clarity and simplicity in all our interactions.
- Physical practices – including gentle, restorative physical exercises such as yoga and tai chi. Bhakti yoga also allows us to channel our emotions and sexuality in a higher way that inspires and opens our hearts.
- A naturally balanced lifestyle – While this is a huge topic, we can begin by looking at:
- Our sleeping cycles and evaluating the importance of rising before dawn and being asleep by 10pm at night (though varies according to climate and season);
- The consumption of whole organic foods and maintaining eating at regular times balances us;
- Aligning with the elements through respecting weather patterns and seasons, with eating seasonal foods and adjusting our activities accordingly without pushing through life under the pressure of the clock and calendar. One can further sync with the elements by using living water to drink, bathe and cook with, turning to fire as our source of heat and nourishment, and acknowledging the fresh air we can gratefully breathe.
- We can also tune in and become more consciously aware of the earth as a living entity while we walk upon her, and acknowledge the spaciousness of being able to be aware of our breath as we pay attention to the nature around us – be it a blossoming tree or autumn leaves on the pavement.
- Time in nature and focusing upon expansive views, such as pausing to look up at the clouds which can be done even in the city, are helpful in maintaining the harmony of ourselves as being in balance with nature.
- Honouring Nature also includes honouring our own body’s needs and thus maintaining an ability to work when we have the energy, and to honor ourselves by resting when we need to, allowing time to be alone each day to reflect on our being-ness, and to follow our own schedule.
- A major leak of Ojas in our modern day culture is overstimulation of the senses – since it takes a huge amount of processing to discern and direct ourselves in such a frantic world. Thus, avoiding TV, movies, loud music and too much “screen time” is important in preserving Choosing silence instead of constant busy-ness and socializing is a wonderful way to rebuild Ojas.
- Conscious use of sexual energy – loss of the reproductive fluids is extremely draining for Ojas. There are practices in the tantric and Toaist traditions that allow for sexual activity without losing fluids. Genuine abstinence (not repression) greatly strengthens our Ojas.
- For women, ‘reproductive fluids’ encompass fluids released during menstruation as well as the fluids emitted with orgasm. A heavy menstrual cycle can greatly deplete the body and pulls on the resources that the body could otherwise be using to build Ojas. Moderating this with Ayurvedic therapies can be highly effective. However, a light menstrual cycle shows low or depleted Ojas and thus indicates a vata condition, especially if it is accompanied by cramps. Imbalances in the menstrual cycle show us that we need a deeper relationship with our feminine values. It is an indication to bring awareness and begin unwinding the many unconscious beliefs held on femininity. Living harmoniously with the cycles of the moon is a key to healthy moon cycles – a topic we will be covering soon.
Ojas Delight Drink Recipe
- 10-20 almonds
- 1 quart water
- 3-6 pitted dates
- pinch of saffron
- ½ tsp ghee
- 1 tsp lecithin
- 1 tsp STRENGH powder or Ojas herbs of:
- Mucuna/ kapppikachu
- Optional ingredients:
- Nutmeg / cinnamon / cardomom
- Praval Pishti
- Cooked rice
Presoak about 10 -20 almonds. Skin these if you like a finer texture to your drink- fine ether way. Put in blender with 1 quart room temperature (not cold or ice) water, 3-6 pitted dates, pinch of saffron, ½ tsp of ghee, 1 tsp of lecithin 1 tsp of Shatavari, Cardamom and touch of Cinnamon. Make sure lid is on tightly before blending well. Taste. Add other optional herbs, figs or cooked rice to alter taste and texture for your needs. Enjoy!!