Ojas- The Nectar of Life
There is a subtle energy in life that maintains our immunity, strength, integrity and vitality. In Ayurveda we call this energy ojas, literally translated as “vigor”, but often more sweetly referred to as the “nectar of life.”
It is the foundation of immunity and provides us with physical endurance and psychological stability. When we are “healthy” our ojas is strong. We will have a strong immune system, steady and calm emotions, healthy and glowing skin, strong faith and we will be peaceful, patient and content.
Ways We Nourish Ourselves
Ojas is created within us when everything that we take in through our five senses is properly absorbed and assimilated: our thoughts, our food, our sensory impressions… everything that enters our mind, body and spirit.
There many things that we can do to boost our immunity, strength and vitality:
– Strengthen our digestion (ginger and fennel tea are a great place to start)
– Eat simple + nourishing home-cooked meals
– Choose whole grains, seeds, nuts (esp. almonds), ghee, dairy products and raw natural sugars (dates, honey, sucanat)
– Eat Chyavanprash daily (a traditional Ayurvedic herbal infused jam)
– Take herbal formulas as directed by your Ayurvedic Practitioner
– Give yourself a daily massage with sesame oil
– Engage in regular gentle exercise like walking, yoga, tai chi
– Spend time in nature
– Surround yourself with the color gold + wear gold jewelry (color therapy!)
– Perform service or volunteer work
– Practice love and compassion for all beings and devotion to something higher than ourselves (prayer or faith in any form)
– Get enough sleep (early to bed, early to rise)
– Meditate or simply spend some time everyday in silence
Ways We Deplete Ourselves
When our ojas is deficient, we get sick or fatigued easily, we develop allergies, we are hyper-sensitive to stress and sensory stimulation (noise, light, chemicals) and we experience brain fog or poor memory. We can feel a lack of self-confidence, anxiety and/or depression and a general lack of contentment.
The ways that ojas becomes depleted are things that are pretty typical in the average American lifestyle:
– Weak or variable digestion
– Eating canned, frozen or processed foods
– Overstimulation of our senses: bright lights, mass media, watching violent TV
– Drug use of any kind, including caffeine and alcohol
– Lots of travel, especially by air
– Excessive worry, fear, anger or grief
– Staying up too late
– Not taking time for yourself
– Not spending anytime in silence or nature
Take It Slowly
This first step is to become aware of these things in our own lives, both the things that deplete us and the things that rejuvenate us. They may not necessarily be on these lists!
Once you start paying closer attention, you can begin to take pause before choosing something that will help or hurt you. Then slowly, you can start incorporating more of the things that nurture you and fill up your cup!