Ojas (pronounced oh-jahs) is the Ayurvedic concept for the energy we have to live our lives. You know you have plenty of ojas if you wake up easily, can happily make it through the day and don’t feel exhausted at bedtime. In general, you feel vibrantly alive.
On the other hand, if you have low ojas, you may not sleep well and may depend on caffeine and sugary snacks to get through the day. You might not have the energy to do things you love like exercise, creative activities or hanging out with friends. Often the things you love get less attention because daily responsibilities use up what little energy you have.
For me, low ojas looked like exhaustion. I’d struggle to get up in the morning and often couldn’t make it through the day. I’d feel waves of dizziness and an inability to concentrate so I’d have to take the rest of the day off sick. My productivity was a mess. To compound it, I usually couldn’t get to sleep at night, regularly tossing and turning until 3, 4 or 5 AM.
Boy, am I glad that’s no longer the case!
It’s taken a lot of work to get to a place where I no longer feel exhausted by the end of the day. Not to say that some days don’t still kick me in the butt but overall I feel amazing when compared to two years ago. Ayurveda has been my primary source for healing and replenishing my ojas.
Foundation for building ojas
Here are some of of the key elements to ojas building:
- Food: choose food to balance your dosha (I.e. the dosha that is out of balance)
- Abyanga: daily self massage to ground the emotions and nourish the skin and tissues
- Morning and evening rituals: these act as anchors to calm the mind, release physical tension and become present so that I can be aware of the choices that I make. This may include meditation, yoga, walking, journaling, creativity, etc.
- Sleep: this is key! Aim to go to bed earlier (10pm), use herbs, abyanga and evening rituals to help induce sleep, no screen time 2 hours before bed time.
- Do less: reduce activities to the essential, reduce stimulation (email, social media, meaningless phone notifications, mindless TV, exhausting social interactions, overall expectations and self-pressure).
- Transform self talk: notice the beliefs that hold you back like “I don’t have enough time” or “This isn’t as good as so-and-so” or “I just have to accept that this is the way life is”. Use affirmations, visioning and meditation to cultivate feelings that transcend your self imposed limitations.
- Herbs: help with digestion, help rebuild tissues and support the mind and emotions
- Help: seek out the support of health care professionals via counseling, acupuncture, reiki, Ayurveda consultations and body therapies
Overtime, gentle and consistent effort will allow your energy to rebuild. Be aware of the choices and experiences that lead to exhaustion know that you can choose differently.
May the ojas be with you!