What is Ojas?
If you’ve recently started learning about an Ayurvedic lifestyle, you may be asking, what is ojas (OH-jus)? Put simply, it is our vitality responsible for sustaining life. Building ojas is arguably the key objective of an Ayurvedic lifestyle, so we’ve included six easy lifestyle tips for enhancing its presence in your body.
Have you ever noticed those days when your skin glows, and your eyes are clear and bright? You feel a vibration around you, a lightness and alertness. You feel deeply in tune with your body and environment. Blissful and mentally clear. You feel like anything is possible.
These are owed to a strong presence of ojas within you. It’s how we want to feel all the time, right? Right! Well, tapping into this vital energy is easier than you think. Including a few Ayurvedic lifestyle tips in your daily routine can help strengthen and nourish it.
In Ayurveda, ojas is one of three subtle essences within the body. The other two are prana and tejas, which are rooted in ojas and act kind of like its subsidiary energies. Each one corresponds to the creation and functioning of the tridosha – vata, pitta, and kapha.
Vata is the energy of movement. It circulates prana throughout the body. Prana is the energy of life, the breath we take in with each inhale that circulates oxygen throughout the body. Ojas supports the energy and strength of prana.
Pitta is the body’s digestive fire (agni), and tejas is the subtle essence within agni that transforms nutrients into the body’s subtle tissues. Tejas is the heat and light energy of ojas.
Kapha is our biological water. It is responsible for the structure, growth, and lubrication of the seven dhatus (body tissues). Ojas is kapha’s pure essence, and what we may refer to as the fluid of life. An imbalance of the kapha dosha will deplete ojas so maintaining an optimal level of kapha dosha is crucial to our vitality.
Knowing more about each dosha and your constitution can increase your knowledge about how to engage an Ayurvedic lifestyle that is right for you. Click here to take our 10-minute dosha quiz to discover your dominant energy.
An Ayurvedic lifestyle lends us many tips for preserving and rebuilding ojas. Incorporate the six easy tips throughout this blog into your daily routine.
How Does Ojas Sustain Life?
Our vital life energy depends on the presence of ojas, and with the assistance of prana, it controls all biological and psychological aspects of life functioning. Perhaps the most beautiful example of its power is during the eighth month of pregnancy when it is transferred from the mother to the fetus. It’s the passing of the essence of our vitality to a new life, a biological act of love. A baby born before receiving this vital essence from its mother will have difficulty surviving.
“Ayurveda helps the healthy person to maintain health, and the diseased person to regain health.” Dr. Vasant Lad. From Ayurveda: The Science of Self-Healing.
Ojas has a protective action. A strong presence can help prevent disease and protect the body from toxic energy and substances. But as robust as it is, it is also susceptible to depletion. As we age, this vital energy naturally declines. You can see it gradually seeping out of someone with a terminal illness through the graying of the skin, dulling of the eyes, and weakening of their aura. An unhealthy lifestyle can reduce the presence of kapha and literally suck the life out of us. Conversely, following a few Ayurvedic lifestyle tips can replenish lost ojas and rejuvenate the body. Learn from Guru Jagat in this video about how strong ojus can support longevity.
Strong ojas also supports the growth of inner spirituality. When we feel strong and healthy, we vibrate on a higher frequency, connecting us more deeply to the metaphysical world and our higher selves. Follow these spiritual Ayurvedic lifestyle tips to help increase your vital essence.
Tip #1: Spend as much time as you can in nature.
Our physical and subtle bodies are made up of the five elements, and each one is essential for life. They are the building blocks of the universe. Connecting to each of these elements keeps our body strong and our spirit aligned with Mother Nature. Take forest or jungle walks. Sun gaze. Walk barefoot on dew-soaked grass. Turn your face up to the sky when it rains. Open your arms to the wind. These delightful tips for connecting to nature will rejuvenate your spirit and add beauty to your life.
What Affects Ojas?
As much as building up ojas through everyday activities is essential to our survival, preventing its loss is paramount to our health. By following an Ayurvedic lifestyle, we not only learn energy-sustaining tips for increasing ojas, but we also learn what depletes it.
We lose energy through the senses, so we need to pay attention to where and how we distribute our energy. Mind-numbing activities such as gossip and excessive screen time rob our physical body of nutrients and vitality. They also suppress the spirit and our inherent need for silence and contact with nature.
Overworking creates stress and leaves little time for making nutritious meals and getting sufficient exercise and rest. Excessive sex, emotional trauma, and overthinking deplete the body of energy needed to sustain vital functions. So too do unhealthy substances such as drugs and alcohol, nutrient-deficient foods, and health and beauty products loaded with damaging additives, such as shampoos, cosmetics, and toothpaste (see below for a natural, whitening toothpaste recipe).
We can think of these things as having the same effect on ojas as fracking has on the health of our planet. These material poisons and toxic energies enter the body and permeate all the tissues, creating ama, a sticky, toxic residue that accumulates in the colon and eventually causes disease. Essentially, anything in excess depletes our vitality.
Sit, Breathe, and Embrace an Ayurvedic Lifestyle
Tip #2: Meditate.
Meditation is ultimately a view to the self. Allowing yourself to sit for a few minutes every day can enhance ojas. It provides our mind with an opportunity to engage in quiet release. No reflective action happens here. Thoughts flow in and out like gentle waves as we acknowledge, observe without judgment, and let go. This silence and drawing inward rejuvenates our inner spirit. It also has a calming effect on every bodily function, allowing the physical body downtime to recharge, while the psychic body undergoes conditioning, resulting in a lighter, uncluttered mind, and a fresher perspective. By including this ayurvedic lifestyle tip in our routine, we develop our organic intelligence.
Tip #3: Do Pranayama.
Pranayama facilitates the transformation of ojas into spiritual strength. It creates an energy around the crown chakra, radiating a positive, high-frequency aura. Practicing yogic breathing techniques for a few hours every day is an excellent tip for increasing ojas and, in turn, strengthening prana.
Tip #4: Practice Acceptance.
Resisting what we can’t change is toxic to our health–really! A friend of mine told me about a mantra he carries with him through life: “siempre si”, Spanish for “always yes”. This doesn’t mean that we should agree to everything. Instead, we learn to accept what comes our way and stay flexible to change. Like a young sapling bends to the seasons and not only survives, it manages to grow.
Connect to your Source of Love
One of the greatest ways we can achieve stronger ojas is through love. All love exists inside of us. What we give and receive is stored in the body as spiritual energy. While prana and tejas keep our physiological body functioning, love enhances our life experience.
Try this activity to connect with your source of love. Sit comfortably in a quiet space. Connect with your breath as you would during meditation or yoga and then bring your awareness to your heart. Think of a time when you feel or have felt strong love. Notice the sensation in your body. This is your source of love. Intensely focusing on that sensation will increase ojas. Allow this feeling to flow to every part of your body.
Tip #5: Do heart-opening yoga.
Beyond just sustaining life, strong ojas also enhances compassion, creativity, peace, and love. Shukralartav is the super-fine ojas that resides in the heart in a very small amount. Yoga that opens the heart center ignites the anahata chakra and nourishes shukralartav, bringing about peacefulness and contentment. This tip is not only for yoga and pranayama practice. Living consciously in this space will continuously nourish your vital life force.
Food for an Ayurvedic Lifestyle
Whatever we eat becomes a part of us, we don’t want to mindlessly and quickly gobble down food, even healthy food. In Ayurveda, food is medicine. Food prevents, treats, heals, and regenerates our vitality. As essential as choosing foods that are clean, natural, organic, and best for our dosha type, is how we prepare, cook, and eat food. Food is infused with the energy that goes into cooking it so prepare your food with consciousness and gratitude.
Tip #6: Eat Consciously.
Susan Weis-Bohlen, author of Ayurveda Beginner’s Guide, advises us to sit while eating, making meal times an intentional self-care activity. Chew slowly and mindfully. Make dinner the most easily digestible meal of the day, taken at least three hours before bed.
Foods that Increase Ojas
Coconut meat, water, milk, and oil
Bonus Tip: Drink homemade almond milk.
Fresh almond milk increases energy and ojas. To make your own, soak 10 almonds in water overnight. Remove the skins. Blend for five minutes with 1 cup of milk (cow, goat, or coconut), ground cardamom, freshly ground black pepper, and one tsp of honey. Drink immediately.
The Source of Love in an Ayurvedic Lifestyle
Ojas is our life energy. Tips for building this vital energy force include connecting to nature and our breath–even better if you can do both simultaneously. As important as it is to follow these tips for enhancing ojas, we must be careful to avoid depleting it or wasting it on energy-sucking activities. The popular Western idea that “everything in moderation” is comforting because it permits us to indulge in superficially and temporarily gratifying behaviors and substances. But even in moderation, toxins are still toxins, and addictions to toxic substances can creep up on us. Regaining health and preventing disease require pure, natural sources of energy that are part of an Ayurvedic lifestyle, such as Ayurvedic herbs like ashwagandha. So do moderation in moderation too!
Natural Toothpaste Recipe – Our Final Ayurvedic Lifestyle Tip
1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil (adjust to desired consistency)
3 tablespoons of baking soda
1 tablespoon of sea salt
3-4 drops of essential oil (peppermint and spearmint are the most refreshing)
Store in an airtight container.
Nikki studied fashion in university but she became interested in restorative nutrition after a serious illness compromised her physical health. Ayurveda and yoga became the guru that brought her health back into balance. Through dedicated self-study of Ayurveda, Nikki has transformed her approach to nutrition, exercise, and how she interacts with the natural world. Being predominantly kapha, she took to meditation quickly and makes it a part of her daily routine. She believes in the healing power of stones, sisterhood, positive thinking, and really good gelato.