WHAT IS pale yellow, tastes like honey and smells like roasted puffed rice; provides a lustrous complexion, resistance to disease, efficient digestion and clarity of mind?
HINT: You cannot buy it. You make it for your-self.
ANSWER: Ojas. (O-jhus)
def. the super-fine essence of health, the very basis of immunity, health and your ability to combat and manage stress.
Healthy babies, with their yummy glow, are pure Ojas creatures
– – full of innate life force, prana, ojas.
Theory: In Western terms, Ojas would be a substance made of small protein-like molecules (peptides) which control immunity, endocrinology (hormones), the nervous and digestive systems, and chemicals that affect the mind.
In Ayurveda-land, Ojas is said to have the consistency of 10 drops of honey mysteriously sequestered in the heart region. Beautiful, poetic, not so easy to buy into. Here is a more practical way to think of it: Ojas is said to be the superfine by-product of digestion — everything we take in from food (the most tangible) to what we slather on our bodies (think lotions and creams that contain unpronounceable ingredients), to ideas, thoughts and emotions (abstract but these too get metabolized and processed or stored away unprocessed to plague us later in many ways from headaches to backaches to interrupted sleep.) On a more esoteric level, Ojas is understood to be a transitional substance between the physical and the energetic spheres – a link, a facilitator between the physical, emotional and spiritual selves.
Imagine you take a bite of an apple. The digestive process goes through many stages of refinement, using nutrients and aspects of that apple and eliminating waste in the form of sweat, urine, feces (this is why proper elimination is so critical…we have to get rid of the unusable, sometimes toxic bi-products on our way to refining the superfine). So the body uses aspects of the apple in a kind of chain from nourishing plasma and blood, to tissues (organs), fat, bone, nervous and reproductive systems.
Finally, after 28 days or so of mining the good stuff each system needs, as well as refining what’s left and tossing out the gunk and junk, what is left is a super-fine by-product of yummy fortifying stuff that provides our body and spirits with the strength and immunity of glow giving Ojas. That apple has alchemized and become part of every tissue, organ and process including elimination and finally contributes its part to Ojas. And when you have a full complement of Ojas in your system you are the one who does not get sick when everyone around is falling like flies. You are the one who looks great and feels up for all challenges.
Tools: What contributes to the smooth manufacture of this super-fine bi-product of life? Pure foods, balanced states of body function, exposure to the good stuff of life like friends, love, aromatic fragrances, nature itself. What depletes Ojas? Common stressors like anxiety, depression, anger, envy, excessive fasting, excessive physical exertion and lack of sleep.
Practice: Can you identify with any of these symptoms of low or depleted Ojas? Fatigue, stiff joints, depression, dry-skin, lethargy, foggy brain, poor or interrupted sleep, low immunity. If you can: get into production!
Build Ojas in these main ways:
- Eat wholesome, seasonally and constitutionally appropriate foods in a relaxed manner
- Act on things you feel passionate about
- Give and serve others and surround yourself with others who do the same (no energy vampires.)
- Laugh a lot, love even more
- Practice yoga, breathing and meditation regularly. (see 5 daily practices)
- Be in Nature
- Sleep well and regularly. (early to bed and early to rise)
- Reduce common stressors any healthy way you can
“Pure Yum” Ojas Elixir. drink before bed.
1 cup of milk
Use cow, almond or coconut milk
Bring the milk to a slow, frothy pre-boil
Add small amounts of each of the following and simmer:
▪ Chopped dates
▪ Chopped almonds
▪ Coconut meat or flakes
▪ Saffron (1-2 threads)
▪ Cardamom (1/4 tsp)
▪ Olive oil, Flax oil or Ghee (1 tbsp)