Ojas is the biological energy that represents the subtlest form of Kapha dosha and the water element of the body. This vital essence plays a direct role in our energy, strength, immunity, libido, and vitality. Therefore, if we are lacking in any of these areas, it is likely that the Ojas in the body may be depleted or disturbed. Healthy Ojas is needed in the body to reduce signs of aging and protect against disease. A person with “good” Ojas tends to have a healthy, luminous glow. They are patient, compassionate, and rarely become sick.
What is Ojas?
Ojas is the culmination of the pure essence of the 7 vital tissues (dhatus) in the body. It is formed during the biosynthesis of these tissues and represents the albumin (protein in the plasma), globulin (protein in the blood), and many essential hormones and neurotransmitters. Although Ojas plays a major role in the immune system, it also relates to the endocrine, nervous, skeletal, muscular, hematopoietic (bone marrow, spleen, lymph), and digestive systems and, therefore, plays a vital role in our overall health.
A major function of Ojas is to maintain the 7 vital tissues, the 3 main forms of elimination (urine, feces, sweat), and the 3 doshas (Vata, Pitta, Kapha). If we are able to maintain healthy Ojas in our system, then we are able to keep balance in all of these areas, keeping the energies flowing freely, avoiding stagnation in the channels, minimizing degeneration, and preventing disease.
Common Causes of Low Ojas
- Physical trauma (e.g. car accident, injury)
- Emotional trauma (e.g. break-up, loss of a loved one)
- Poor sleep habits
- Excessive orgasms
- Chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma, arthritis, cancer, TB, and ulcerative colitis
- Chronic pain
- Resistance to “what is”
- Excessive travel
- High Vata in the system
- Aging (50+)
How to Increase Healthy Ojas
Letting go of the constrictions in the mind and processing through our thoughts, feelings, and emotions is a powerful way to boost healthy Ojas in the system. Ojas is “awareness” and by increasing our consciousness through meditation, we simultaneously increase our Ojas. Each night before bed, take 10 to 20 minutes to sit in a peaceful, comfortable seat. Quiet the mind and let your thoughts come in, then send them on their way. If your mind gets restless, come back to the breath and focus on the inhale and exhale.
2. Eat Ojas-Increasing Foods
Eating a diet rich in Ojas-increasing foods is a great way to promote healthy Ojas in the body. Here is a list of some powerful Ojas-building food choices:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Healthy oils such as coconut, olive, sesame, and almond
- Coconut meat, coconut water, coconut milk
- Organic, whole milk (warmed and spiced)
- Golden Milk
- Whole grains (brown rice, buckwheat groats, oats, whole wheat…)
- Figs (fresh or soaked is best)
- Raisins (soaked is best)
- Sweet, juicy fruits such as mangos
- High antioxidant foods such as blueberries, cacao, and beets
- Sweet potatoes
- Rice pudding
- Bone marrow broths
- Ojas-Increasing Oatmeal
- Ojas Increasing Energy Balls
- Golden Milk
- Golden Almond Milk
- Rejuvenating Ojas Drink
- Homemade Ghee
3. Reduce Stress
Reducing the stress in your life is an essential way to obtain healthy Ojas in the body. Make sure that you’re not overworking and exhausting yourself. Make sure to keep good, positive company and reduce negativity and conflict in your daily life. Find healthy outlets to utilize on a daily basis such as Yoga, meditation, pranayama, music, art, nature, family, friends, healthy hobbies, and exercise.
4. Avoid Excessive Sex
Ojas is a strong factor in our sexual potency. Abusing, misusing, or exhausting our vital sexual energy is a common way of depleting the Ojas in the system. Instead, keeping control over this sacred energy and using it in a healthy manner will preserve our Ojas and preserve our vitality. According to the texts, Vata types are supposed to enjoy sexual intercourse only 1 to 2 times a month, Pitta types 3 to 4 times, and Kapha types 4 to 5 times per month. If you have depleted Ojas, to begin with, it is best to save your sexual energy for only 1 to 2 times a month, no matter which dosha type you may be.
5. Abhyanga Self-Oil Massage
A warm, gentle, self-oil massage at the end of the night is a great way to build the Ojas while nurturing the body, mind, and soul. If you have depleted Ojas, there is a good chance that the Vata is also high, so using a warm Vata Massage Oil or sesame oil may be even more powerful. Begin with the head and work your way slowly down to the feet. If you are short on time, just massaging the scalp, forehead, and feet can be very effective as well.
6. Gentle Yoga
Gentle Yoga is a nourishing way to reduce stress, reduce constriction, and promote free-flowing energy in the body—all of which will increase healthy Ojas. Taking a Restorative Yoga, Yin Yoga, or any slow-moving, gentle yoga class 1 to 2 times each week will be a great complement to your Ojas-building routine.
7. Gentle Exercise
Incorporating a healthy, gentle, and consistent exercise routine into your daily life is a great way to promote healthy Ojas. This can be a simple walk in the fresh air each day, a gentle hike in nature, or a nice swim. Just keep it relaxed, consistent, and enjoyable.
8. Deep Breathing
Constriction is a leading cause of depleted Ojas. Therefore taking the time to take some deep breaths each day is an excellent and efficient way to increase our Ojas and our vitality. Each morning, sit in a comfortable seat and take 10 deep belly breaths, making them long, smooth, and steady. Focus the mind on the elongated inhale and exhale, and notice the slight pause in between. For best results, repeat this practice before bed.
9. Surrender To What Life Hands You
Dr. Vasant Lad states very clearly that a major cause of depleted Ojas is “saying ‘no’ to what is”. Saying ‘no’ causes resistance and constriction, and these feelings disrupt Ojas. Therefore, practicing surrendering and accepting “what is” can be a powerful way to increase health and longevity. As Dr. Lad so beautifully states: “The trees say ‘yes’ to every season. When spring comes, they say ’yes‘ and they flower. When summer comes, they say ‘yes’ and they become dry and thirsty. When fall comes, they say ‘yes’ and change color and drop their leaves.” Be like the tree!
10. Promote Positivity In Your Life
Increase the positive energy in your life and increase your Ojas. Some simple ways to increase positive energy are by keeping good company and surrounding yourself with positive, loving, compassionate people. Keep positive thoughts, even when times are hard. Positive energy promotes positive energy, and this promotes healthy Ojas.
11. Ojas-Increasing Herbs
Herbs can be an amazing compliment to these other Ojas-increasing practices. Here are some of the most powerful Ojas-promoting herbs in the Ayurvedic pharmacopeia:
- Yashtimadhura (Licorice)
- Kapikacchu (Atma Gupta)
*Taking these herbs with one teaspoon each of ghee and honey will increase their Ojas-increasing properties even further!