Yoga Help You Find Balance and Health – Have you heard of the Gunas? They aren’t Disney characters. Yoga teaches that there are three fundamental energies or qualities that make up all things. These are rajas tamas and the sattva.
Rajas refer to the energy of movement, action and change. Rajas are the fire and passion fuel. Rajasic energy can also be associated with daylight hours. Rajasic energy is essential for us to be able to move around our world and live successfully. If we have too much rajasic, we can appear very busy to the outside world. Does this sound like you?
High levels of rajasic energies can cause burnout. If rajas become out of balance, the mind and body become restless and have a lot more uncontrollable thoughts.
Rajasic foods include spicy foods, fried foods and coffee / caffeinated drinks/ stimulants/ fish, chocolate, and foods that are bitter, sour or dry. Rush eating is another rajasic.
Tamas is the opposite of rajas. Tamasic energy can be described as a state of inactivity, inertia and darkness. Tamasic energy can cause you to experience darker emotions like anger and greed. As there is more rajasic activity during daylight hours, so is tamasic. Persons who are highly tamasic may appear depressed or lazy. Most diseases are tamasic.
Tamasic foods include meat, alcohol and tobacco. Tamasic food is when you overeat. Sattva refers to the energy that is in harmony and balance. Sattva is associated with positive mental and emotional states of happiness and intelligence.
Sattvic energy is a positive state of mind that makes a person feel happy. Sattvic energy can also heal, and Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science, encourages the cultivation of sattvic energies. Sattvic energy is most active between dawn and dusk when the light and darkness are at their peak. The yogic path focuses on developing sattva. Yoga asana, meditation and other forms of yoga are traditionally performed during these times.
Sattvic foods include whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables, milk, butter and legumes.
You must realize that all of us have the three Gunas in our bodies. This is true, but we often have one predominant guna. Can you guess what yours might be based on the above descriptions? This is important because it allows you to predict how you might react to different life situations and your strengths and weaknesses. This will help you identify when you will likely become out of balance and what you can do to get back in balance.
There might be times in your life when one guna is more active than the other. You might be very productive and active (rajasic). You might have experienced depression (tamasic). Or a time when you are in harmony with your spirituality and balance (service).
The food we eat is another way gunas can show up in our lives. Take a moment to consider the American diet, which is very tamasic and contains many processed and chemically-treated foods. Modern science has confirmed that these foods are directly related to major diseases such as cancer, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Too much tamasic can lead to diseases, as we have already mentioned. We know that whole foods, such as vegetables, fruits, and grains (sattvic food), are vital for our health and provide energy.
Do you practice yoga postures (asana)? What are the gunas? Are you passionate about your asana practice? Did you find your practice slow or lazy? Or was it balanced?
You probably know by now that sattva is essential for a balanced life. It will make you happy, healthy, and happy. You can do this by:
- Reduce rajas & tamas
- Recognizing when you are out of balance – which guna is most apparent?
- Positive thoughts can be encouraged by creating positive environments and activities
- Healthy, sattvic-oriented eating
- Some herbs (subject to another article)
- Pranayama (breathing practices), Asana (postures), and Meditation are all examples of yoga practice