Life is fast, unrelenting and unforgiving, especially at this time of year, when there are so many places to be and people to see. It’s go, go, go from the time we open our eyes, and while we do what we can to keep the health life balance, going a million kilometres an hour is going to bite us in the butt in the end!
If you find that even though you’re eating well (most of the time) and exercising, you still feel awful, it could be a sign that you’re not cultivating any ojas. This is a term from Ayurvedic medicine meaning ‘vital essence’. It is sometimes referred to as the vessel that holds all the goodness in. So, no matter how hard you train or how much kale salad you eat, you will always feel exhausted if you don’t have ojas.
Ojas is only cultivated when you do things like sleep (properly), daydream under clouds, walk slowly or do gentle restoration practices such as meditation and yin or restoration yoga. It is an essential ingredient to your wellness and cannot be ignored if you want to sustain real health.
Here is a gentle and slow practice you can do at home that will give your ojas a boost. Start by turning off all your devices and dim the lights in your house. Roll out your mat and have a blanket and block (or book) nearby.
Start by lying down and slowing your breath, allowing each inhale and exhale to be longer and deeper than the last. Do this for a few minutes until your mind clears. Come into resting tree next, this is where you bend one leg and take the foot against the opposite leg. Drop your hips and take three to four minutes just to relax into the shape. Slowly swap sides and repeat on the second side for same amount of time.
Next, still lying down, come into butterfly (where the soles of the feet touch one another with both knees bent) and place your block underneath your feet. Take five minutes to just release your hips focusing especially on your breath out.
To finish, slide your legs up against a wall so your lower back is completely supported. Cover up with the blanket and take another five minutes. During this time, take the count of breathing in for four counts and exhaling for eight. This will activate your parasympathetic healing body and settle your body into that restoration state.
This practice will take just over 15 minutes and may be just the thing next time you need a boost.
About Martine Allars
Martine loves combining breath work and movement, and her classes are a balanced mix of challenging poses and relaxation techniques. She has been practicing yoga since 1995 and started teaching in 1999. Martine originally trained in Iyengar under Anna Prior and later trained in Hatha before discovering her love of Ashtanga.
Pranayama refers to the yogic practice of controlling the breath, and in this workshop you will learn exactly how to utilise your lungs to their best capacity. The workshop will breakdown and practice each Pranayama technique so that you can utilise these tools in your everyday life, on and off the mat. It is wonderful for stress management and to help energy levels.
When: Saturday, February 10, 1.30-3.30pm
Where: Elixr Bondi Junction
Who: Elixr members and non-members
Cost: Book in before February and pay $35, book in after and pay $45 (incl. GST). Deposit is 50% and non-refundable.
The last time I was in lockdown was in 1969, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, because racial riots broke out...