Ayurveda Day 57: Herbs and Ojas

If you haven’t already figured out, one of the best things you can do for your health is to build ojas. Ojas are important as they are the storehouse or reserves of energy in our body. They determine the strength of our immune system as well as the stability of our mind and emotions. They essentially provide us with our vitality and are the container for prana and tejas, the subtle forms of vata and pitta, respectively. If your ojas is low and your prana and tejas are high, they will further deplete your ojas and you will have disease.

In short: Ojas are important! Build ojas, build ojas, build ojas!
Building ojas can be done in many ways. The highest way is to practice ahimsa (doing no harm). Doing abyangha (self oil massage daily) also builds ojas in the body.

But when we get to diet, building ojas becomes tricky. The most important thing in diet is always how you eat, not what you eat. What do I mean by that? Well if you want to build ojas, look at this following scenario:

You make an organic, delicious, beautiful and fresh meal. You do it according to what’s locally available, what’s in season, and what is best for your dosha. You prepare it with love and reverence.

Then, you pop it into a tupperware, rush out the door to your car, go zipping down the highway on the way to work, and scarf it down while driving.

When we eat, if we do so mindlessly, no matter what it is we eat or how healthy it is, we will wind up depleting our ojas. When we split our attention and take the mind off the present moment, then our full focus is no longer on our digestion. The body has to divert it’s reserves our energy – the ojas – to perform all the other tasks we are doing, as digestion is already demanding in and of itself.

So if we don’t eat properly, then we don’t build ojas. Worst case scenario, we even lose ojas!

We live in a fast paced world and many people have structured their lives in such a way that they feel they cannot simply be still and in the present moment. Diet from an ayurvedic perspective is difficult for people because it requires that mindfulness and attention.

Herbs can be a great support to our health because they are quick, fast acting, and easy to administer. As mentioned yesterday, from baths, oils, teas, massages, smells, and more, herbs fit into our fast paced lifestyle quite nicely. And just as there are foods that have different effects on the doshas, herbs divide similarly. The following herbs are considered rejuvenative tonics and will really help to support us all on our quest to build ojas:

Cool Herbs (for those of us with too much heat):
– Shatavari
– Amalaki
– Gokshura
– Gaduchi
– Maca

Warm Herbs (for those of us with too little heat):
– Ashwagandha
– Haritaki
– Shallijit

Now I recognize that most of you have not heard of these herbs. But, the good news is, many of these are available online in the form of essential oils or teas. Just make sure to get ones that are as organic and unprocessed as possible to ensure their potency.

These herbs alone will not magically build ojas for you if you live a depleting lifestyle. But they may be that extra boost some of us need to put us on the correct path, and help to supplement our diet and lifestyle as we become more mindful.

So build ojas, build ojas, build ojas! But now you have more tools available!

With gratitude,

S

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One thought on “Ayurveda Day 57: Herbs and Ojas

  1. Some of the very practices that I pooh poohed are the very ones that I find myself doing today. While its a challenge to get around an oil massage everyday, my body has benefitted from one every week. I think of it as self discovery and healing.

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