Ojas is the juice of life, the pure essence of all bodily tissue, and a source of happiness and immunity.
Have you ever noticed that lovers, saints, babies, yogis, and mothers-to-be give off a similar radiance? Their skin is glowing; they’re smiling; they’ve got that trademark sparkle in their eyes. They’re beaming with vitality—literally. According to ayurveda, vibrant individuals have ample amounts of ojas, one of the three vital essences that promote health, creativity, well-being, and spiritual strength. Ojas is the juice of life, the pure essence of all bodily tissue, and a source of happiness and immunity.
Ancient ayurvedic texts say that if you have healthy ojas, you can live happily for a hundred years. But if your ojas is depleted, you become vulnerable to aging, illness, and even premature death.
So how can you tell if you have enough ojas? Bright, beautiful eyes, lustrous hair, a glowing complexion, and rosy cheeks are a few of the physical signs. Positive energy, vitality, joy, mental clarity, and compassion are some of the mental and emotional signs. You’ll know your ojas is depleted if you have dry skin, cold hands or cold feet, constipation, anxiety, mental fuzziness or negativity, loneliness, or fatigue.
Most of us could use an extra dose of ojas. Here are five tips to help you feel refreshed and radiant.
1) Eat Ojas-Friendly Foods
Fresh, whole foods that have been ripened by the sun contain the most vitalizing energy. Avoid overprocessed, refined foods, alcohol, and stimulants, and incorporate these ojas-rich foods into your diet instead:
Fruits: avocados, apples, bananas, dates, figs, apricots.
Vegetables: leafy greens, lettuce, parsley, alfalfa sprouts, okra, sweet potatoes, yams, rhubarb, spinach, turnips, watercress, zucchini.
Grains: amaranth, basmati rice, oatmeal, whole wheat.
Legumes: mung dal, soy beans, soy milk, tofu.
Dairy: goat cheese, cottage cheese, fresh yogurt, ghee (clarified butter).
Nuts: almonds, Brazil nuts, black walnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts.
2. Drink Almond Milk
Soak 10 almonds overnight in water. In the morning, remove the skins. Place the almonds in a blender with one cup of warm milk, a pinch of cardamom powder, a pinch of freshly ground black pepper, and one teaspoon of honey. Blend for five minutes on high speed—and enjoy. Because almonds, milk, and honey are super-rich in ojas, this drink will nourish and energize you.
3. Nurture Yourself
If you commit to living a healthy, balanced lifestyle, you’ll begin to feel more vibrant in no time. Why? Because stress depletes ojas, while relaxation replenishes it. Here are a few ayurvedic lifestyle tips: Get regular exercise (but don’t overdo it); go to bed on time, get about eight hours of sleep, and wake up on time every day; nourish your senses with nature and the arts; think positive; spend time with loved ones; and avoid multi-tasking, sensory overload, excessive sex, chronic stress, harsh winds, and extreme temperatures.
4. Practice Yoga and Meditation
You can boost your vitality by practicing asana, pranayama, and meditation on a regular basis. If you’re new to meditation, try working with the So Hum mantra. Close your eyes and breathe deeply for several minutes. Then, focusing your attention at the third eye, mentally say the word “so” on an inhalation and mentally say the word “hum” on an exhalation. Continue repeating this mantra in coordination with your breath for at least five minutes. This meditation will build ojas and uplift your spirits.
5. Massage Yourself
Each night before you go to bed, rub a few ounces of warm, organic, unrefined oil all over your body with special attention to the ears, nostrils, and other orifices. Then take a warm bath and scrub your body with natural soap. This nourishing routine will make your muscles melt, and you’ll sleep like a baby. If you know your prakriti (constitution), you can choose an oil accordingly, or take our dosha test here, and then follow the instructions below:
For Kapha: use a light oil such as mustard, flaxseed, or safflower.
The Spiritual Aspects of Ojas
The sages say that through pranayama, spiritual discipline, and tantric techniques, you can transform your ojas into spiritual strength. This powerful energy is visible in the form of an aura or halo around the head of an enlightened yogi. If you’ve had the rare opportunity to meet one, you’ll notice that you can feel the love and compassion emanating from the teacher’s heart even when they’re not speaking a word. That’s the spiritual side of ojas put into action.