What Is Ojas, and How Can I Get More of It?

In Ayurveda, ojas is our radiance, our vigor. It influences everything from our immunity, digestion, physical strength, and the health of our skin to our spiritual inclination, sleep, and mood.

Ojas is the refined substance produced after digestion, once all seven dhatus—the tissues responsible for the functioning of the systems and organs of the body—are fed and nourished. The classical Ayurvedic texts state that it takes 27–30 days to build ojas. So while chewing and digesting a carrot may take less than 24 hours, it takes a lot more time for your body to benefit from the gifts of that carrot.

Since it takes almost a month for the system to create ojas from the food you ingest, it is critical to nourish our ojas supply. How do you know if you’re protecting and supporting your ojas levels?

Your ojas is amazing if …

  • You bound out of bed each morning saying, “Let’s rock!”
  • Your skin positively glows sans sparkly primer.
  • The tongue is pink and your mouth tastes clean (save for the occasional roasted garlic binge).
  • You feel light and limber.
  • Your mind does not feel like a TV running non-stop with no remote in sight.
  • You rarely have to take a sick day (for actually being sick).
  • Your feel grounded, with both feet planted firmly on the earth.
  • Natural enthusiasm radiates from you—the world is your oyster.
  • You smile and laugh.

What builds ojas?

  • Ample sleep—seven or eight hours is ideal for most.
  • Following your heart’s desire, whatever lights you up
  • Volunteering, selfless service
  • Nature
  • Yoga, pranayama, and meditation
  • Whole, fresh, organic foods, preferably home-cooked
  • Spending time in nature
  • Snuggles with pets, friends, family, a good book
  • Laughter
  • Love, love, and more love.

Lauren Gernady is the Academic Coordinator of the Kripalu School of Ayurveda, an Ayurvedic Health Counselor, and a 500-hour Kripalu Yoga teacher.

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