My first Ayurvedic teacher, Larissa Carlson, called herself an Ojas dealer. We were at a sweet winter retreat at Kripalu and spent 5 days diving into restorative Yoga, Ayurvedic living, and deeper nourishment. It was my first experience with building ojas and woe – what an experience it was!
What Is Ojas?
Ojas is the superfine essence of Kapha. It is described as a milky white fluid – there’s a drop of it in every cell and eight drops in your heart. You are born with a certain amount and it becomes depleted over time. Ojas is responsible for your vitality, immunity, strength, and vigor. Healthy ojas allows for enthusiasm, longevity, and a sense of being stable and grounded.
Ojas comes to us mostly through food. It is the substance that’s built after all seven dhatus layers of tissues are nourished. That which is left over build ojas. It takes 28-30 days to create ojas from the foods we eat.
In Balance – Compassion, contentment, all cellular immunity, capacity for bliss.
Out of Balance (too little) – weakened immune system, complacent, discontent
Things That Build Ojas
— Proper Rest – Yoga Nidra, Restorative Yoga, and healthy sleep hygiene are all key for building ojas
— Proper Diet – foods rich in life force, close to the earth, and unprocessed. Cooked fresh organic foods, adequately spiced. Dates, fresh-made almond milk, ghee, honey (do not heat), and my favorite – chyavanprash all increase Ojas.
— Proper Activity – spending time in nature, performing Yoga asana, meditation and pranayama, not having too much sexual activity, cuddling with pets, family or friends.
Things That Deplete Ojas
— The biggest thing that depletes Ojas is stress. We know stress wears the body down. Modern science explains how an overactive sympathetic nervous system and increased cortisol levels are the root cause of many disease processes. Check out this documentary from National Geographic on the science of stress.
— Negative emotions – Traumatic experiences, excessive worry, or anger take us away from a sattvic, or peaceful state of mind thereby depleting ojas.
— Excessive fasting – is difficult for the nervous system and depletes the bodily tissues.
— Staying up late – past the hours where the body is spending time in repair and rejuvenation. Try to be in bed by 10pm.
— Too much sexual activity – depletes the sukra- the male and female reproductive tissues. Excessive loss of shukra (reproductive tissue) directly correlates with decreased ojas.
— Continuously being in a hurry – creates excess Rajas which slowly depletes Ojas.
— Exercise – that is too hard, too intense, or overly heated depletes the body.
— Excessive alcohol – creates inflammation and dryness depleting Ojas as a result.
When looking at the things in your life that deplete Ojas, I find the most important thing is to cultivate self-compassion. Try being gentle with yourself, and tender…maintain openness and a sense of curiosity as you decide what to let go of and what to develop more of.
Want To Know More?
The knowledge of Ayurveda can help us understand how to take care of our bodies every season. By making simple lifestyle changes, we can invest in our health and well-being. Join us for our ayurvedic fall cleanse to learn more about how you can nourish your body and mind this season.
Night to the Soma-drinker come, for his enjoyment, these pure drops,
The Somas mingled with the curd.
Thou, grown at once to perfect strength, wast born to drink the Soma juice, Strong Indra, for preeminence.
O Indra, lover of the song, may these quick Somas enter thee:
May they bring bliss to thee the Sage.
— Rig Veda, HYMN V. to Indra
Agni and Soma are two primordial cosmic forces of the universe that are integral to all of life. They are deities in the Vedic tradition and consorts. Agni is the god of the sun and Soma (also known as Chandra) is the god of the moon. Soma is represented as the most powerful deity in the Vedic tradition – the healer of diseases, bestower of riches, and lord of all other gods. Soma is a nectar that exists within and also a drink that was made likened to ambrosia. Shiva and Indra are said to have drunk from this elixir.
Agni is the first word in the Rig Veda, the oldest of the Vedas or books of knowledge. It is the sacred fire which represents heat and light. Agni is the inner fire that governs transformation, alchemy, and metabolism. There are many types of agni and depending on which texts your read, they number anywhere from 3-13. Agni exists in the five primordial elements (air, fire, earth, water, space), all of the tissues of the body, and in the digestive tract. We want to think of kindling agni with care – as we would tend a fire. The goal is to have a steadily burning flame that doesn’t go out or diminish, nor does it combist or get out of control. One can support healthy agni through diet, herbs and lifestyle choices. There is said to be a type of soma for each type of agni and today we are going to focus on soma. In the summer months, times of intense heat, stress, or outward focused action – turning our awareness inward to the quiet and rejuvenative practices can be deeply therapeutic.
The word Soma comes from the root su, which means to swell, to make ready, or to prepare. The earliest mention of Soma is also traced to the Rigveda. Soma relates to water, ojas, ambrosia, the inner power of endurance, and becomes that which provides the fuel for our perceptions. Soma connects us to Ananda (bliss), peace, contentment, and love. It is the sustainer of all and when soma flows we are in a state of pure comfort or bliss.
If Agni is the fiery Kundalini force that dwells in the root or earth chakra below, Soma is the watery nectar that dwells in the crown of the head above. The oily drops of Soma nourish the central channel and provide the fuel for Agni, aiding in its upward movement. Agni is connected with the fiery kundalini shakti — as Agni rises, Soma descends. We need the nourishment of soma along the central channel before awakening kundalini. According to the Vedas, Soma flows in a thousand streams to Indra’s special place. These are the thousand currents of the sahasrara chakra or the crown where there lies the thousand-petalled lotus.
Remember, over-activity and excess stimulation of agni leads to depletion, burnout, and disease. It is vitally important to cultivate soma in order to enhance longevity.
Ways of cultivating soma flow include diet, lifestyle, herbs, pranayama, and meditation. I will share a few suggestions for each.
Spiced Milk Tonic
I adore Divya’s Kitchen and often order my Ayurvedic meals and pantry items from them. For developing soma, I highly suggest their ghee, soma salt, split mung bean soup. I am an affiliate so if you use this link to order and code Jeanette15 you’ll receive 15% off
Abhyanga warm oil massage – check out my Youtube video
Marma Chikitsa – marma point therapy
Pratyahara – turning awareness inward and cultivating steadiness and quiet
Herbs (Stanya Rasayanas):
Gotu Kola (Brahmi)
Asana and Pranayama:
Sitali and Sitkari Pranayama
Restorative, Yin and Slow Flow Yoga
Brhamari Pranayama – I have a guided practice on Insight Timer
Kechari or Shambavi mudra
We are exploring these themes all summer long in my live classes and online membership. Sign up today for just $0.99. Cancel anytime.
Ayurvedic Herbs For Summer
Brahmi – Brahmi is a nervine that soothes, relaxes, and balances the doshas. It eases anxiety and stress, reduces inflammation, helps lower blood pressure, and has anti-cancer benefits. Combined with chamomile, cumin, coriander, and fennel, this tea will keep you cool and collected all summer long.
Manjistha – I love this Pitta massage oil from Banyan Botanicals. It’s my favorite to use during the summer months for the practice of Abhyanga. If you haven’t tried abhyanga, check out my Youtube video here.
Neem – I particularly love adding Neem to my ghee. Ghee is the optimal delivery system for herbs according to Ayurveda. This ghee is fantastic for your skin, it’s purifying and cooling in nature, helps keep blood sugar in the healthy range, improves metabolism, and benefits gut health. Order your small-batch hand-crafted organic cultured neem ghee and enjoy this summer.
Rose – ahh rose. The sacred, high-vibration plant ally is a favorite during summer. It’s a heart tonic and is loaded with polyphenols or antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits. Rose helps you feel serene and brings the energy of love to your world. Mountain Rose has some of my favorite hydrosols and essential oils.
Shatavari – Shatavari is a nourishing tonic for all genders but is especially supportive for the female reproductive system during all phases of life. It calms the mind, builds ojas or the nectar of vitality and immunity, and is amazing for the skin. This is my favorite beauty balm which combines shatavari and rose geranium.
Want to Know More?
Download our beautiful 20-page guide and masterclass to access the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda this summer.
Summer – the season of play, expansion, heightened energy, long nights, and longer days. Pitta is the dosha comprised of fire and water and it is at its peak in the summer months. In Ayurveda, like increases like, and opposites bring balance so we want to offset the intensity and sharpness of the heat with things that soothe, cool, and nourish.
Summer is a time of depletion according to Ayurveda – our digestion becomes weaker, ojas is depleted and overall, the heat has a taxing effect on our physiology. So what can we do?
Here are my favorite tips to beat the summer heat and stay balanced and nourished during this season of fire.
1. Ayurvedic Daily Routine – the first part of every Ayurvedic consultation I offer begins with establishing a supportive daily routine – called dinacharya. In the summer, we want to make sure we are asleep no later than 11 pm. Put away the screens, establish a solid sleep ritual, and get to bed before the pitta hours kick in (10 pm-2 am). Eat your largest meal between 10 am and 2 pm.
2. Food Choices – favor sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes. Foods like cucumber, melon, berries, artichokes, zucchini, watercress, collard greens, asparagus, mung beans, rice, barley, and even dairy can be supportive this time of year. Enjoy herbs such as mint, fennel, coriander seed, basil, cardamom, and cilantro. Avoid iced and super cold drinks and foods, as they can further dampen the already compromised agni (inner fire of digestion and assimilation). Bitter ghee, called tikta ghrita, is another wonderful balm for summertime.
3. Body Care – Perform daily Abhyanga – self warm oil massage with Brahmi oil. Follow with a shower and finish with a cold rinse. Spray your eyes and face with rose water. Use sweet and cooling essential oils like jasmine, sandalwood, and rose. Rinse and massage your feet with oil before bed.
4. Surya and Chandra Trataka – sun gazing and moon bathing. Take a walk at sunrise and practice sun-gazing at sunset. Bathe under the moonlight soaking in the softening rays of the moon. Utilize the rhythms and cycles of nature to bring about inner harmony and balance.
5. Metta Meditation and Mindfulness Practice – practice softening. Work a little less, take mindful moments every hour to simply breathe and notice your body, practice loving-kindness meditation.
With subtle seasonal shifts and attention to what is coming through the five senses, we can greet each season with balance and ease.
Join me live for a sweet guide on how to apply Ayurvedic lifestyle and nutrition to stay nourished, healthy, and filled with vitality this summer. You will also receive our beautiful 20-page guide with recipes, journal prompts, and your guide to the Ayurvedic seasonal routine and daily clock.