Ayurveda Day 37: Introduction to Ojas

If amas are the toxins of the body, ojas can be thought of as almost the inverse. Ojas are the reserves of energy in your body, and connected with strength of the immune system. As a general rule, we want to avoid putting things into the body that produce toxins (such as junky foods in our diet) and consume that which will first pacify the imbalances we have, and ultimately will produce more ojas.

“So more ojas = healthy! Got it!”

Slow down there partner, not quite. It is quite possible to have a high amount of ojas, but still not be healthy. We can always make choices that drive us out of balance. This is especially true for lifestyle. Our ojas won’t really help us when it comes to our mental and emotional choices. However, our ojas can be dipped into when we make poor dietary choices.

Think of it this way:;

A person who eats nothing but fast food will have high ama and low ojas. Then that person decides one day to eat a healthy meal. The body will be so starved for nutrition that they cannot possibly make ojas out of it. Those nutrients need to go towards repairing the damage and ridding the toxicity from the system. It won’t be enough either. Remember, it can take up to 35 days for the body to completely process the food we eat into the tissues of our body. Low quality diet such as this will produce low quality tissues. It’s going to take time to make better tissues, and a steady healthy diet.

Now think of the flip side of this:

You eat healthy pretty much every day, every meal. Your body doesn’t have many toxins to get rid of, and therefore can store this high quality tissue building material for later. You have high ojas. One day, you are out with friends and decide that you are going to cheat a little, and have some pizza and beer. Your body has so many reserves to dip into that this one slip up is merely a blip in the radar.

You have to ask yourself what is the rule and what is the exception. Are you generally a good eater with a few unhealthy habits? Or are you generally eating poor quality foods and only occasionally eating healthier?

“So ojas are not the answer, but are useful. How do I get them? TELL ME”

Don’t worry, I’m getting to it! First and foremost, whatever dosha or doshas are out of balance in our body will determine what kinds of foods we need to eat (Ask a CAS). However, as a good rule of thumb, it is Kapha foods (heavy, moist, dense, along with nutritious), that will produce ojas. Our body will have a hard time producing high quality or quantity of tissues out of crackers or soda (Vata foods) or greasy and fried foods (pitta). It needs the qualities of Kapha to do it. But don’t be saddened if you think Vata and Pitta get no love! They just govern different functions. Without Pitta, we would not have metabolism, and without Vata, we wouldn’t have circulation. We are all three doshas, each and every one of us.

It is not ojas alone that are going to make us healthy. Rather, think of them as the savings fund we have for when we’re in trouble. If we are sick, or make an unhealthy choice, it is the ojas that we can withdraw from. For many of us, this bank account has become overdraft. If you ever wonder why you get sick so much, or feel exhausted, etc, then it all starts with a healthy diet. It’s never easy, but as a start, I challenge you try to eat one fresh, organic, healthy meal a day. If that’s too much, make it a snack of some fresh cut vegetables. Start small, and as always, you and your practice will grow.

With gratitude,

S

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