Definition - What does Ojas mean?
According to Ayurveda, ojas is the subtle essence of all vital fluids, responsible for:
- Emotional wellbeing.
- Spiritual growth.
Ojas is a Sanskrit term meaning "vigor," and it is best understood as essential energy for the body and mind. It not only gives tissues strength and endurance, but it protects the health and vitality of cells, thereby influencing all bodily functions and physiological processes.
The seat of ojas within the body is said to be the heart, and it is composed primarily of water and earth elements. Ojas can be increased, repaired and protected by eating pure and nourishing (sattvic) foods, practicing meditation and developing a balanced lifestyle.
Within yoga, heart-opening and restful asana can help to fortify and increase ojas.
Yogapedia explains Ojas
On a physical level, ojas has kapha-like qualities, and manifests in a variety of forms such as vital bodily fluids and the immune system. Ojas is a pure substance, said to be accumulated from properly digested, prana-rich and nourishing food.
Non-sattvic foods, like meat, processed foods, oily foods, reheated foods and foods that aren't freshly prepared, are difficult for the body to convert into ojas. In Ayurveda, the highest ojas-building foods include dates, almonds, ghee, and raw cow’s milk.
If ojas is weak or low, it can cause low mood and fatigue, often reflected as a heaviness in body and mind. Lack of focus, negative attitude, depression and anxiety may also be an indication of low ojas.
Signs of plentiful ojas are:
- Feeling rested
- A radiant complexion
- Sparkly eyes
- Physical strength
- A healthy-colored tongue
- Feeling centered and balanced
- Easy or regular digestion
- A clear mind
- Rarely getting sick
- Feeling light and energized
The opposite of ojas is ama, a toxic residue in the cells that promotes disease. Ama is created by consuming non-sattvic foods and harboring destructive habits or emotions. By repairing or increasing ojas, an individual can counteract the effects of ama.
When in plentiful supply, ojas can help to ward off physiological stress and disease brought on by pathogens. However, it can also be diminished by chronic stress, which is why it is especially important to eat a sattvic diet and cultivate a balanced lifestyle during challenging times.
Rest, nourishment and self-care are all means of maintaining a healthy level of ojas. Chyavanprash (Ayurvedic herbal jam) supplement and abhyanga massage can help to increase the production of ojas, whilst the yogic practice of pratyahara (sense withdrawal) helps to maintain ojas once levels are high.
Since ojas is responsible for all cerebrospinal and reproductive fluid, it plays a particularly important role in conception and pregnancy. As a life-giving sap that nourishes all bodily tissues, increasing the production of ojas is vital in order to support fertility and healthy pregnancy.
During These Times of Stress and Uncertainty Your Doshas May Be Unbalanced.
To help you bring attention to your doshas and to identify what your predominant dosha is, we created the following quiz.
Try not to stress over every question, but simply answer based off your intuition. After all, you know yourself better than anyone else.