I first heard the term Ojas in the 1990s while studying with an amazing Ayurveda teacher & author, Robert Svoboda. Ojas is built when we are spending time rejuvenating (the Ayurvedic term is known as rasayana) rather than pushing ourselves and going, going, going, as many yogis do. “Rasa” means juice or essence, and “ayana” means path. As Robert calls it, rasayana is the “the path of juicing up”.
Ojas is the essence, like honey created by the essence of flowers, and is related to vitality and immunity. The accumulation of the flower essences is stored in the honeycomb, which in our body is like ojas, the pure essence of our dhatus, or bodily tissues. Ojas is considered to be generated from the original essence of para ojas in the heart, which then circulates via the heart and throughout the body for support.
Ojas is the super-fine essence of kapha dosha associated with lunar cycles; it is therefore connected to regeneration. The qualities of ojas and kapha dosha are similar: liquid, sweet, and unctuous. Together they provide great support for the immune system and the reserves of life force.
“We are tremendously full of effort. We try to get rid of anger, which is an effort, we try to get rid of fear, which is an effort. All efforts build stress and that stress diminishes ojas.”
Life imbalances that decrease ojas in the body:
- Stress that is from life or self-created; lack of heart-brain entrainment
- Dissonant thoughts and emotions; worry, anxiety, anger, jealousy, excessive pride
- Disconnection from the Heart Fire and the energy of love and compassion
- Shock and trauma, overexerting oneself, overdoing, exposure to extremes
- Lack of proper rest, late nights, and insomnia
- Excessive travel, multitasking, draining technology rhythms
- Dieting, improper nutrition, malnutrition
- Excessive sexual release
- Eating unwholesome foods, incompatible foods, processed and junk foods
- Smoking, excessive alcohol, addictions, recreational drugs
- Honoring solar-lunar rhythms in one’s practice
- Lunar and Sringara Rasa (visualizing the communion of opposite poles of the body) yoga and daily mantra, pranayama, mudra, and meditation
- Nourishing the Heart Fire with love, sukha (intrinsic happiness), and santosha (contentment) in your life
- Cultivating aesthetics, beauty, the arts, peaceful rhythm, and enjoyment of the art of living
- Steadily following nourishing rhythms of dinacharya (daily routine) and rtucharya (seasonal routine)
- Nutrition with organic cooked (for digestion), vegetarian food, not overly spiced
- Organic dairy or nut milks if vegan (almond, cashew), ghee, fresh butter, small amounts of cream
- Fresh nuts, honey, dates
- Whole grains and rice
- Fresh, sweet fruits and vegetables
- Balancing sexual energy in accordance with the seasons and one’s constitution
- Ayurvedic herbs and rasayanas—tonic drinks and jams like Chyavanprash
- Making rasayanas with the guidance of an Ayurvedic counselor of herbs, including Ashwagandha, Brahmi, Kumari (Aloe), Shankhapushpi, Shatavari, Shilajit, and Licorice
Learning how to cultivate ojas in daily rituals will help you to stay juicy, and joyous on your path. Ayurveda is the yoga of life—May all beings be happy and juicy.