The word Prana has become somewhat mainstream if not for the famous yoga clothes brand also for its actual Sanskrit meaning of life energy. A word you may not be so familiar with from the yogic world is Ojas which describes the essence of immunity and vitality in the body.
Ojas is closely related to Kapha dosha and recognised as a “primal vigour”. It gives endurance and strength. It brings stability and nourishment of the muscle tissues. Frank John Ninnivaggi, M.D. in his book “Ayurveda, a comprehensive guide to traditional Indian medicine for the West” describes it as “the bio-energetic bodily material that contains the life force (prana) and serves the vital functions that maintain the body’s energy reserve and proper immune status.” If unclear what this means, the accent is on “contains”. If prana is a moving energy, the intelligence behind all mental and physical processes then Ojas is the resulting subtle substance or sap, the building blocks to your health and wellness. Ojas is said to be the body’s counterpart to pure joy, the cellular equivalent to bliss.
Good Ojas sustains you and helps you fight disease. Good Ojas derives from your inherited genetics and also your “acquired” health reserves, based on nutrition, lifestyle and environment. Good Ojas is based on quantity and quality.
How would you know if you have good Ojas?
– are you mostly happy and cheerful?
– loving and compassionate?
– content and calm?
– have strong immunity?
– glowing skin?
– sparkling eyes?
– shiny hair?
– excellent strength and endurance?
Or on the contrary do you often suffer:
– deep fatigue?
– lack of stamina or zest for life?
– often sick?
– poor muscle strength?
– are you quite thin or emaciated?
– poor self-confidence?
– feel cloudy and unclear?
– dehydrated and lacking luster?
– have an hyperactive mind?
You get the picture.
Ojas is affected by stress and lack of sleep, poor nutrition and digestion, overwork and excess anger, grief or worry as well as too much sex.
Ojas can however be replenished or made stronger by:
– following a diet and lifestyle appropriate to your constitution (refer to my posts on doshas and check out relevant diets)
– eating organic, wholesome, nourishing foods such as almonds, walnuts, honey, saffron, ghee, whole grains, some legumes such as mung beans, root vegetables and small amounts of good quality dairy products (milk should preferably be raw if you can source it)
– spending time outdoors in nature
– sleeping soundly
– switching off your electronic devices, TV, phones, computers
– practising meditation, chanting and certain pranayama exercises (yogic breathing practise)
– rejuvenating herbs such as shatavari, ashwagandha and amalaki which is a primal ingredient in the Ayurvedic herbal honey Chywanaprash (see the Pukka website in my resources page)
The lustrous glow you have when you get back from a holiday? That’s Ojas.
So here you are equipped with a few very simple but effective tools. It doesn’t sound like much but if you investigate new health routines for yourself you will witness a deep shift.