Stress is an immunity-sucker. When we’re stressed we often don’t take good care of ourselves and are more likely to get sick. Also the busyness of this time of year can cause some of us to burn the candle at both ends and deplete our inner resources of energy – also known as ojas. Ojas is the Sanskrit word for “vigor”. It is the life-sustaining vitality that promotes immunity in the body. It is the fuel that sustains your physical body, brings clarity to the mind and balances the emotions. According to Ayurveda, ojas makes you healthy, well rested, light in body, clear in mind, energized, enthusiastic and centered. Building ojas is like filling up your gas tank and creating insulation from sickness and the holiday madness. Top tips for building ojas:
- Eat pure, unprocessed, fresh, and seasonally and avoid heavy and difficult to digest foods
- Daily exercise. Move your body for at least 20 minutes upon waking to clear the channels. It will also help with the next point:
- Optimize digestion. Eat 2-3 meals a day and try not to snack in between. When you space your meals your body can completely digest your food and fully build up your digestive fire for your next meal. Fast on warm water between meals. When you eat, do so slowly, undistracted and while sitting in a calm setting. Include all 6 tastes. Here are my favorite winter salad recipes.
- Daily meditation. Just as space is essential for food digestion, we also need space to digest mentally. Take time daily to sit in silence and connect to being-ness and learn how to not be sucked into the drama of your too-busy life. Start with one minute a day. Choose a point of focus such as your breath or a mantra. I recorded an intro to meditation here.
- Self-massage for self-love. Abhyanga is the Ayurvedic practice of self-massage with oil. Oil is likened to love in Ayurveda. This nurturing practice insulates your nerves and is deeply grounding. Use the best quality sesame, sunflower, almond or coconut oil you can find.
- Get enough sleep. How to here.
- Go outside. I’m quite fair-weathered but I can’t deny that time in nature always nourishes and refreshes me – no matter what the temperature. I’m thankful for my daily walk to pick up my son from school – I probably wouldn't spend too much time outdoors if it wasn't for that. Find a way to spend some time in fresh air every day.
- Love, laugh, play, serve others. Tis the season to connect, celebrate and give. Snuggle with your loved ones, reconnect with old friends and distant family, put on some Christmas music that doesn't suck and have an impromptu dance party or immerse yourself in a warm bath with candles. Take time daily to relax and enjoy this precious life.