Ojas is vitally important to your yoga practice and life. You NEED Ojas to practice!
To practice yoga without proper Ojas is detrimental to your wellbeing, so understanding it is one of the most important things you can do as a yoga practitioner.
This concept is often completely overlooked or misunderstood in the yoga community – you will not hear about this in your typical yoga class, yet it is the most essential aspect of any persons yoga practice.
This is why Yoga and Ayurveda are sister sciences. For any yogi, Ayurveda is vital in maintaining a body that is capable of practicing yoga in a healthy and safe way. The concept of Ojas is particularly important when practicing aspects of yoga that are specific to movement through the Pranic body.
- Pranayama (specifically active, heating exercises that move lots of Prana)
- Practices involving the rising up of Kundalini energy
- Hatha Yoga
- Life and all things associated with this experience
These practices should be done with an understanding of Ojas and with the firm, underlying support of the Three Pillars of Life. To engage in these practices without awareness has the potential of creating false indentity, or physical, emotional, and psychological harm to you and those around you. While there is an inherent amount of this in any persons constitution, Yoga will always have a taxing effect on your Ojas. This is because the nature of Yoga is purification.
Ojas is a Sanskrit word which means “vigor.” Described as the Fluid of Life, it is one the most essential things for maintaining a healthy body. It is your splendor, your inner light, your luster, vitality, energy and bodily strength. This vital sap is necessary for a complete and full life. Without it, immune systems weaken, spirits sink and basic abilities falter in the face of adversity.
A person with good Ojas is serene, healthy, creative, energetic, and youthful in appearance. These are the people we come across in our day to day lives that simply shine a light on our routine.
A person who is deficient is timid, weak, anxious, lacks vitality, has a poor complexion, gets sick easily and has a general deficient appearance.
How To Build Ojas
You can build stronger Ojas by following the Three Pillars of Life: Good digestion, good sleep, and proper self expression. This means eating for your particular constitution, getting regular sleep, and most importantly, enjoying regular communications and practices with your divine power (meditation, art, music, hiking, coloring, exploring). Walking barefoot in a natural setting and other life-style activities can also nourish it. Along with this, there are nourishing and delicious recipes that are specified towards building Ojas.
Ojas can be visualized easily in this picture:
Imagine your body as the candle – Ojas is the oil sustaining the flame, and the flame is representative of Tejas (or the light of consciousness).
The flame with healthy Ojas (or oil) is consistent, dependable, focused, useful and contained.
The flame with improper Ojas is chaotic, unpredictable, depleting, holds an illusionary sense of strength, and is dangerous.
Recipes for Building Ojas can be found here