The Ayurveda Summer of
Ojas and Ama
The juicy sweet taste of watermelon with the swish, swish, swish sound of a sprinkler in the background, kids screaming with excitement as they splash in the pool, graduations, barbecues in the park, fireworks on a hot sticky night to celebrate summer fun. All the good things about summer are happening. Though I love the long summer days and the chance to be outdoors for longer periods of time, right now, I am struggling with the 50C (120F) weather here in the desert.
This is pitta season, a fiery hot time of year! The importance of nurturing Agni, the digestive fire, is something to be mindful of during this season. It’s a season we tend to overheat, overwork and burn in the sun if we are less focused on nurturing our inner coolness.
In Ayurveda, you are what you digest. This means, when your Agni is at optimum, you digest the essence of the nutrients by absorbing them to nourish your body and mind. When you are balanced in all doshas, you are producing Ojas which is optimal health, with glowing skin and hair with a pleasant body smell. Your eyes are warm but focused, your senses are clear, and you exude health. This is a state of not only physical health, but also the subtle level of energy and emotional balance. It is the homeostasis that we all want to strive for. When you are full of Ojas, you are well-rested, full of beans getting out of bed with feathered feet. You feel happier and ready to tackle any challenge.
The opposite of Ojas is Ama, the toxins we create within our bodies that we are unable to digest. As our bodies hold on to excess calories, toxins, undigested food, and emotions, we start to feel uneasy on a very subtle level. Over time, it becomes localized and starts to create problems within us. In our Ayurvedic practice, there are many ways to detox Ama, which will be further discussed in the next edition. For now, let’s focus on how to create more balance with Ojas in our body and mind.
Although opposites soothe the imbalance, one thing to avoid is ice cold water. As an analogy, when putting ice on your sprained ankle to take the pain away, it slows down the flow of blood related to the area. Drinking icy cold beverages can slow down the inside of our stomach preventing it from doing its job of releasing enzymes and muscle movement to digest what we have just taken in.
When full of Ojas and living in an optimal health state, you can reverse your age trend, the biological indicator for your health, which is much younger than your chronological marker. You may be 45 or 65 years old but feel as healthy and strong as a 30-year-old dancing on the beach at sunset!
Tips for Creating Ojas this summer:
· Spend cooling & quiet time meditating and being mindful every day
· Eat according to the Doshic requirements, avoiding too much fried or raw food. Even in the summer, it’s really beneficial to have lightly steamed vegetables, rather than raw ones. Eat an array of rainbow colors and tastes!
· Incorporate cooling elements such as water and waves into your daily exercise. Practice slow yoga and cooling breath exercises such as Ujjayi breath.
· Spend time in the evening away from electronics to sit outside and listen to nature’s song.
· Drink CCF (Cumin, Coriander & Fennel) Tea
Here’s one of my favorite midday snacks called Mango Lassi. It’s easy to make and delicious. If anyone is lactose intolerant like me, the yogurt can be replaced with non-dairy yogurt. Depending on the dosha, pittas can omit honey and add a little bit of mint. For kaphas, go easy on the water portion and enjoy it with mint and a little bit of lime juice and honey. Blend in a mixer until it has a smooth consistency to drink.
- 1/4 cup of yogurt of your choice
- 2/3 cup of water
- 1/3 cup of mango
- 1 tsp mint leaves
- 1 tsp honey
To see more variations of these delicious and healthy smoothies go to the Lifestyle page under Ayurveda Recipe
Wishing you all an incredible summer and all year!