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.