The last few weeks have been as stressful as they have been sweet, and as many times as I’ve wanted to flop on the floor and have a tantrum, I’ve been reminded of how grateful I am to be here, doing this, stretching my body, breathing in and breathing out.
Revitalizing and rebuilding vital energy reserves (Ojas) during those moments of pressure does not have to take a lot of time or effort. A simple way to increase Ojas is to add certain foods to your diet. When I am feeling depleted, I bring out the ghee (clarified butter), dates and raisins, seeds and soaked, peeled almonds. These ingredients make their way onto my tartines, into my stews and soups. One of the principles I appreciate about Ayurveda (the sister science to yoga) is its emphasis on quality -- not just on the quality of the foods, but also on the experience of enjoying them. How you eat your meals is just as important as what you eat.
(By the way, I don’t know if a pastel de nata is Ayurvedically correct, or if it builds ojas, but I savored the Portuguese tartelette slowly, and it cheered me up. The one above came from Pastelaria Belem. Hey, I sprinkled cinnamon on it. Does that count, ayurvedically?)
Meditation is another ingredient for healthy levels of Ojas. Again, this is easy to accomplish if you focus on quality, not quantity. Just try three to five minutes! If you can only do one minute, do one! Some meditation is always better than no meditation.
An Ojas-building yoga practice will nourish you inside and out. Rather than focus on strenuous sequences, relax into supported poses and forward bends. Try Yoga Nidra, which will guide you to physical and mental replenishment. If you don’t have time to attend a proper class, search for one online. Just click around until you find a Yoga Nidra session led by someone with a voice you like (this is very, very important. You will not be able to surrender to Yoga Nidra if the teacher’s voice annoys you. Trust me.)