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Five Ayurvedic practices to make us truly radiant:
Ever wonder how some people seem to effortlessly maintain glowing skin, thick, shiny hair, and balanced energy throughout the day?
According to Ayurveda, there is a subtle essence that exists in our body that gives us the glowing skin, vital energy, strong immunity, and positive attitude which can help keep us healthy and happy. It’s called Ojas, and it’s said to be the end product of perfect physical and emotional digestion.
Ojas is one of the three vital essences; the other two are Prana and Tejas. These are the positive forms of the three doshas—Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Too much of any one of the doshas can eventually lead to disease, but an increase in any of the vital essences helps to combat this and sustain health.
When our digestive fire, or Agni, is operating optimally, we efficiently break down the food we eat, assimilate the nutrients we need, and eliminate the toxins that that we don’t. The complete digestive process impacts the health of our blood, hormones, metabolism, hair, skin, muscles, bones, nervous system, and reproductive fluids. If operating optimally, eventually creates the subtle essence known as Ojas.
During my mid-20s, when my digestion was at its worst, I was also experiencing depression, cystic acne, and fatigue. I never understood the connection between my gut health and everything else I was experiencing until I began to improve it. After all, in Ayurveda, optimizing your digestion so you can produce more Ojas is the ultimate key to looking and feeling your best.
Symptoms of low Ojas can include fatigue, anxiety, mood disorders, inflammation, weakened immune function, and sexual dysfunction.
These stem from poor dietary habits, excessive fasting, weak digestion, chronic stress, inadequate sleep, too much exercise, excessive sexual activity, negative thoughts or emotions, and injury or trauma.
Alternatively, we can increase our Ojas using these five techniques:
1. Optimize digestion.
Working with an Ayurvedic Practitioner can help you determine which foods will be the best for your dosha and imbalances, but there are some general digestion principles of which we can always be mindful. We should focus on eating fresh, organic, whole foods and limiting or avoiding processed, packaged, and leftover foods.
We should also create the time to sit down for meals instead of randomly snacking throughout the day or eating in front of the television or computer. This allows our bodies to focus on the task at hand: efficiently breaking down food and supplying our bodies with the nourishment they need. Lastly, we ought to make lunch the largest meal of the day, as this is when our digestion is strongest.
2. Reduce stress.
One of the best ways we can support our mental and physical health is by incorporating meditation into our daily routines. When we feel stressed out, we actually create a more acidic environment in our body that can lead to poor digestive function and inflammation. Meditation can help to reduce stress and increase compassion and positive thinking, as can taking a bit of time throughout the day to just unwind and practice self-care.
Journaling is another great tool to help release negative emotions as well. Both meditation and journaling have transformed my emotional health immensely—I can’t recommend them enough.
3. Create a supportive, loving environment.
Once I began living a healthier lifestyle, I found myself needing to surround myself with others that also prioritized wellness. This helped me feel good about my choices and lead a more positive life overall. Some ways in which I did this were checking out local meet-up groups, going to yoga or fitness classes, and attending regular meditation classes.
Reconnecting with supportive family and friends we’ve lost touch with can also be a great way to create a supportive environment for ourselves.
4. Spend more time in nature.
Every time I feel stressed out or stuck, taking even just a short walk in nature helps me to feel more grounded again. We are inherently connected to nature, but as our lives become more demanding and our minds become more attached to technology, we lose that connection.
Nature has an incredibly powerful healing energy and is rich in Ojas-like qualities. There is an intelligence that exists in nature that is replicated within our own bodies. By spending more time in nature, we help bring our bodies’ functions and rhythms into alignment with the way nature intended. We can incorporate weekly hikes, light jogs, or yoga on the beach—and in doing so, we’ll get the double benefit of nature and exercise!
There are specific Ayurvedic herbs and formulas that can also help to increase Ojas production. These are called Rasayanas. Two of my favorites are Shilajit, which is rich in more than 85 minerals that our cells need for proper functioning and Chyawanprash, an ancient Ayurvedic formula loaded with healing botanicals, spices and herbs.
Author: Tina Paymaster
Editor: Callie Rushton