Have you ever noticed that lovers, saints, babies, yogis and mothers-to-be give off a similar radiance? Their skin is glowing; they're smiling; they've got that trademark sparkle in their eyes. They're beaming with vitality literally. According to ayurveda, vibrant individuals have ample amounts of ojas, one of the three vital essences that promote health, creativity, well-being, and spiritual strength. Ojas is the juice of life, the pure essence of all bodily tissue, and a source of happiness and immunity.Ancient ayurvedic texts say that if you have healthy ojas, you can live happily for a hundred years. But if your ojas is depleted, you become vulnerable to aging, illness, and even premature death.
So how can you tell if you have enough ojas? Bright, beautiful eyes, lustrous hair, a glowing complexion and rosy cheeks are a few of the physical signs. Positive energy, vitality, joy, mental clarity and compassion are some of the mental and emotional signs. You'll know your ojas is depleted if you have dry skin, cold hands or cold feet, constipation, anxiety, mental fuzziness or negativity, loneliness, or fatigue. Most of us could use an extra dose of ojas. Here are tips to help you feel refreshed and radiant.
Eat Ojas- friendly food Fresh, whole food that has been ripened by the sun contains the most vitalising energy. Avoid over processed, refined foods, alcohol and stimulants and incorporate these ojas-rich food into your diet instead:
Fruits: avocados, apples, bananas, dates, figs, apricots.
Vegetables: leafy greens, lettuce, parsley, alfalfa sprouts, okra, sweet potatoes, yams, rhubarb, spinach, turnips, watercress, zucchini.
Grains: amaranth, basmati rice, oatmeal, whole wheat.
Legumes: mung dal, soy beans, soy milk, tofu.
Dairy: goat cheese, cottage cheese, fresh yogurt, ghee (clarified butter).
Nuts: almonds, Brazil nuts, black walnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts.
Soak 10 almonds over- night in water. In the morning, remove the skins. Place the almonds in a blender with one cup of warm milk, a pinch of cardamom powder, a pinch of freshly ground black pepper, and one teaspoon of honey. Blend for five minutes on high speed and enjoy. Because almonds, milk and honey are super-rich in ojas, this drink will nourish and energise you.
If you commit to living a healthy, balanced lifestyle, you'll begin to feel more vibrant in no time. Why? Stress depletes ojas while relaxation replenishes it. Here are a few ayurvedic lifestyle tips: Get regular exercise (but don't overdo it); go to bed on time, get about eight hours of sleep, and wake up on time every day; nourish your senses with nature and the arts; think positive; spend time with loved ones; and avoid multi-tasking, sensory overload, chronic stress, harsh winds and extreme temperatures.
You can boost your vitality by practicing asana, pranayama and meditation on a regular basis. If you're new to meditation, try working with the So Hum mantra. Close your eyes and breathe deeply for several minutes. Then, focusing your attention at the third eye, 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 uplift your spirits.
Each night before you go to bed, rub a few ounces of warm, organic, unrefined oil all over your body with special attention to the ears, nostrils and other orifices. Then take a warm bath and scrub your body with natural soap. This nourishing routine will make your muscles melt and you'll sleep like a baby.
For Vata: use warm heavy oil such as sesame, almond or bhringaraj.
For Pitta: use neutral oil like olive, sunflower, coconut or ghee.
For Kapha: use light oil such as mustard, flaxseed or safflower.