Ojas is the juiciness of life!

Think about the qualities of a person who is healthy. They are strong yet supple, easy to smile, generous with their time and energy, resilient and most of all, they glow. The Sanskrit word ojas describes this glow. It is our vitality, which is often described as radiance similar to the light of the moon. According to Ayurveda, healthy people have abundant ojas, the vital essence that promotes health, immunity, happiness and spiritual strength. When your ojas is depleted, you are left vulnerable to aging, illness and even premature death. In the ancient Ayurvedic texts, it states that if your ojas is abundant, you can live happily for a hundred years.

So where are you on the ojas scale? Signs of abundant ojas are clear radiant eyes, lustrous hair, glowing skin, a strong immune system, a positive outlook on life, joy, mental clarity and compassion. Signs of depleted ojas are dry skin, cold hands and/or feet, constipation, anxiety, pain, mental fogginess, negativity, loneliness and fatigue.

Ancient wisdom from the Vedas tells us that through the self-loving practices of pranayama (breathing practices), spiritual discipline and tantric techniques, we can transform our ojas into spiritual strength. This quality is palpable in an individual who has nurtured themselves through self-loving acts. Deep self-love translates into wisdom, and loving compassion for all which emanates from the heart of an ojas-abundant person.

Here are five simple daily acts of self-love to increase your moon-like glow:

1) Eat Ojas Building Foods

Fresh, organic, sun-ripened whole foods contain the most ojas-building energy. Your local farmers market will have the best selection. Avoid refined, processed, canned and frozen foods as the vitality of these foods is either nonexistent, or limited. Limit or avoid alcohol and stimulants, as these are ultimately drying and irritating to the body tissues.

Love yourself daily with these ojas-rich foods:

  • Fruits: avocados, apples, bananas, dates, figs and apricots.
  • Vegetables: leafy greens, lettuce, parsley, alfalfa sprouts, okra, sweet potatoes, yams, rhubarb, spinach, turnips, watercress and zucchini.
  • Grains: amaranth, basmati rice, oatmeal, quinoa and whole wheat.
  • Legumes: moong dal, soy beans, soy milk and tofu.
  • Dairy: goat cheese, cottage cheese and fresh yogurt.
  • Nuts: almonds, brazil nuts, black walnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts.
  • Healthy fats and oils: Ghee (clarified butter), olive oil and coconut oil.

2. Herbs to Enhance Your Ojas.

Herbs are nature’s healers. They are packed full of compounds, vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to build ojas. Ayurveda has hundreds of healing herbs to heal and support vitality. Here are a few rejuvenating herbs to add to your diet: amla, ashwagandha, ginger, basil, turmeric, brahmi and cardamom.

  • Ginger is hot in action. It helps decrease the aggravated vata and kapha doshas and therefore helps to fight infections as well as boost ojas, which enhances immunity.
  • Turmeric is believed to support the health of all the three doshas or the basic humors of the body: vata, pitta and kapha. For this reason, turmeric is recommended in a large variety of ailments and it is also used as a potent ojas-enhancing and immunity-boosting herb.
  • Licorice is a naturally revitalizing herb that strengthens the body systems. The powder of this root, when taken with honey and ghee, is said to support your immunity.
  • Ashwagandha increases ojas by restoring energy levels and it is said to delay the process of aging. In the Ayurvedic text, the herb of Ashwagandha is regarded as a natural stimulator and rejuvenator.

3. Nourish Your Ojas with Daily Lifestyle Choices

Living a healthy, balanced lifestyle is a potent action of self-love. It sets rhythms and vibrations into your whole mind, body and spirit to nourish ojas. Ayurveda encourages rhythms that are in balance and harmony with our planet so we are living with nature rather than against it. Here are some tips for a healthy lifestyle:

  • Get regular exercise, but not to excess as this can be upsetting to your state of balance.
  • Set your sleep rhythm by going to bed at the same time each night, getting about eight hours of sleep, and waking up at the same time every day. Sleep is not a waste of time.
  • Nourish your senses with nature and the arts. Surround yourself with color and texture.
  • Spend time with loved ones, and avoid harsh and negative people.
  • Things to avoid: multi-tasking, sensory overload, excessive sex, chronic stress, harsh winds and extreme temperatures.

4. Practice Yoga and Meditation Daily

Stress is one of the biggest contributors to decreased ojas. Luckily, humanity has been blessed with the practices of yoga and meditation. You can boost your vitality by practicing asana, pranayama and meditation on a daily basis. If you are new to these practices, starting gently and slowly is the best act of self-love.

  • Practicing 15 to 45 minutes of yoga asana daily will move all of your joints and increase your range of motion. It will also help you increase your strength, balance and resiliency. Ending your practice with at least five minutes of Savasana will guide your internal compass to your divine light.
  • Love yourself with abundant prana! Daily practice of deep diaphragmatic breathing increases your ojas by supplying abundant life energy in the form of prana. It also helps to detoxify the body as you exhale completely. Plus, with practice, this deep and balanced rhythm of breathing becomes your “norm.”
  • When deep, balanced breathing becomes part of your routine, the effects of stress are significantly decreased. With every cycle of the breath, you infuse your body with life-giving energy and detox the tissues.
  • Use the antidote to stress. Daily meditation. One of the most powerful meditation practices, which is especially helpful to beginners, is japa, or the repetition of a mantra. Japa helps to anchor the busy mind into a single focus. The “so hum” mantra is simple because it is only two words, but it holds great meaning. The translation is “I am that” or simply, “I am.” Close your eyes and breathe deeply for several minutes. Then, focusing your attention at the brow center, 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 align your mind to your deepest truth.

5. Daily Self Massage

In Sanskrit, the word for oil and the practice of applying oil to the body, is called Snehana, which means love. By giving yourself the gift of daily self massage with high quality, warm, organic, unrefined oil, you are giving yourself love.

  • Each night before you go to bed, place a few drops of oil on the very top of your head, in the ears and in the center of both hands and feet. Anointing these marma points is an act of rich self-love as you intentionally clear the emotional charges from the experiences of the day and consciously prepare yourself for a restful nights sleep.
  • In the morning before bathing, massage a few ounces of oil all over your body with special attention to the joints and any places that you may be feeling any discomfort. Then bathe with warm water using natural soap on the “hairy parts” of your body.
  • If you know your prakriti (constitution), you can choose an oil appropriate for your dosha: Vata, Pitta Kapha. There are many websites available offering dosha tests to determine your prakriti. You could try joyfulbelly.com.
    • Vata: use a warm, heavy oil such as sesame, or almond
    • Pitta: use a cooling or neutral oil like olive, sunflower, coconut, or ghee.
    • Kapha: use a light oil such as mustard, flaxseed, or safflower.

Give yourself these five simple acts of daily self-love and turn up your ojas glow!