Yoga For Balance And Health
In this article you are going to learn about Gunas and why they are so important in terms of your overall balance and health. You are going to find some terms here that you may not have heard before so it will be a learning experience for you!
Yoga says that there are three basic energies or qualities that make up who we are. These are:
We will now explain what each of these are in detail and explain why they are so important for you.
Rajas is defined as the energy of:
You will also see Rajas termed as the fuel of fire and passion. The energy of Rajas is also tied to the hours of daylight. It is essential that we have rajasic energy so that we are able to create more energy so that we can successfully move through our daily lives.
If you have an abundance of rajasic energy you will often appear to outsiders as someone that is always on the go. You are always making things happen. Are you like this? If you maintain too high a degree of rajasic energy then you will eventually burn out!
If your rajas is not in balance then your body and mind will be over stimulated. In this situation your mind will be racing all of the time and this is going to make you restless because you have so many thoughts swirling around in your head.
Rajasic foods include the following:
- Other caffeinated beverages
- Dry foods
- Spicy foods
- Salty foods
- Bitter foods
If you eat any foods too fast then this will also be considered rajasic.
The best way to explain Tamas is that it is the opposite of rajas. If you are in a state of inactivity, darkness, inertia or heaviness then this is due to Tamasic energy. If your Tamas is not in balance you will likely find that your reasoning sufferers from cloudiness and you may experience darker emotions such as greed or anger.
You know that Rajasic energy is dominant during the hours of daylight and Tamasic energy is dominant during the night or the hours of darkness. People who appear to be lazy or depressed will likely have too much Tamasic energy. Broadly speaking any disease state can be considered Tamasic.
Tamasic foods include the following:
- Chemically treated foods
- Processed foods
- Over ripe foods
- Fermented foods
- Stale foods
- Strong cheese
If you overeat any types of food then you will be Tamasic.
The state of balance and harmony is achieved with Sattva energy. Sattva is associated with intelligence and joy as well as other positive emotional and mental states. If you have an abundance of Sattvic energy it is likely you will be extremely happy.
The healing states are associate with Sattvic energy as well. The sister science to yoga, Ayurveda, focuses on actively cultivating Sattvic energy. You will find that Sattvic energy is most common at dusk and dawn which are the times between daylight and darkness.
So when you are practicing yoga and you want to increase your Sattvic energy levels it is best for you to perform meditation and yoga asana during the times of dusk and dawn.
Examples of Sattvic foods include:
- Herbal teas
- Whole grains
- Fresh fruit
- Sprouted seeds
- Fresh vegetables
- Pure fruit juices
You have all 3 of these Gunas within you
It is essential that you understand that you have all 3 of these Gunas within you. Most of us will have a dominant Guna. From what you have learned so far can you work out what your dominant Guna is?
Being aware of your dominant Guna is a good thing to do. When you know this it will help you to predict how you are likely to react to certain situations in your life. It will also help you to be more aware of your strengths and weaknesses.
This will all help you to know when you are likely to be out of balance in your life and what action you need to take to get yourself back into a balanced state. It is also important for you to know that there are probably going to be times in your life when one of your Gunas is more active than the others.
If you are in an active and very productive mood then your Rajas is dominant. Or maybe you are in a lazy mood or feel a little depressed – these would be signs of a dominant Tamas. When you are feeling in tune and finely balanced then your Sattva is dominant.
The Foods you Eat impact your Gunas
The foods that you eat will have a direct effect on your Gunas and how they dominate your life. In the Western world people tend to eat a lot of chemically treated and processed foods which in turn create a lot of Tamasic energy.
There is plenty of scientific evidence that these kinds of foods have a direct link to serious illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity. We already told you that an excess of Tamasic energy can put you in a disease state.
Conversely we are also aware that Sattvic foods such as fresh vegetables, whole grains and fresh fruits are the best to bring balance and health to your life.
Relating the Gunas to your Yoga Poses
When you are performing your yoga poses in which way do your Gunas make an appearance? Are your yoga sessions passionate and fiery? Or do they tend to be lazy and slow? Perhaps they are really well balanced? This can change if one of your Gunas is dominating on a specific day.
Sattva is the answer to Balance and Health
By now you will have concluded that the secret to a balanced, healthy and happy life is Sattva. You must cultivate more Sattva energy in your life if you are not in a balanced and healthy state right now. There are several ways that you can achieve this:
- Practice yoga regularly with a combination of poses (asana), meditation and breathing exercises (pranayama)
- Choosing a diet that is Sattva orientated
- Reducing the amount of Rajas and Tamas energies that you have
- Consuming certain herbs
- Increasing the amount of positive thoughts that you have by choosing the right environments and activities
- Gaining an understanding of when your balance is not right and knowing which Guna is dominant
So if you are not practicing yoga now is the time to start. You will need the best equipment for your yoga sessions.