KEEPING BALANCE IN FACE OF CHANGE
MAY 10TH, 2009: I remember when I was a kid my family and I visited
If we honor who we truly are then love, peace and clarity is ours! During class I spoke to what variations of each pose were more Tamasic and which were more Rajasic so you could choose appropriately. This is spoken of in the yoga sutras comprised by Pantanjali as follows:
Chap 1.16 When consciousness unites it remains clear and unaffected by the external changes of nature and things that happen around us, the Gunas. This is the ultimate freedom. Freedom is love.
The Gunas are the three universal attributes of nature that inhabit and influence the essence of all beings and material objects. Although one of the gunas may predominate, these three forces are in constant flux and interplay. The three gunas are:
Tamas: the energy of stability, solidity, inertia, darkness, confusion. Tamas inactivity – manifests as inability to make decisions, immobilizes us through fear or fatigue – if healthy, allows us to draw inwards and sleep deeply
Rajas: the energy of activity, dynamism, vibrancy, change, passion, excitement. Rajas overactivity – manifests as good to help us explore many things but too much we burn out
Sattva: the energy of luminosity, light, clarity, balance, contentment. Sattva balance means dynamic stillness
The world and everything in it play between these 3. If we can remember who we are, what we want from life then these are not able to influence us and throw us off our game. As long as we promote balance we can observe the changes but transcend them. However if we identify with the gunas rather than with ourselves the mind and our emotions are like a constantly changing rainbow (feeling blue, seeing red, turning green with envy)
We need all three gunas in nature. Tamas is the inert energy needed for sleep, rest, and stability. We need tamas for strong, dense bones. We use the energy of tamas in our asana practice for grounding and stability. Rajas is the energy of motion. It helps us move from a dull, lethargic state to a place of clarity and intelligence. In asana and pranayama, we use rajas to move and breathe with full awareness - channeling energy to develop and expand our consciousness. We need rajas to quickly adapt to new situations and to act rapidly in emergencies. Rajas is also the force of creativity and vitality. Sattva is the energy of light, when it shines we can see with clarity and we enlighten our true Self. We are sattvic when the body and mind are clear, alert, tranquil and spacious, whether this happens in meditation, a focused asana practice or in our daily life. In yoga and ayurveda, we always want to move toward increasing sattva, as this state of balance provides the space necessary for healing to occur and for the true knowledge of the Self to be revealed.
The gunas can also have negative aspects. When tamas is out of balance we may become dull, dense of mind and unable to see or remove obstacles. We become ignorant, pessimistic and doubtful. Tamas predominates when a person is depressed. They have no energy to work or to get out of bed. When rajas is out of balance we are hyperactive, turbulent, and agitated. We act without awareness, such as, an angry outburst at the slightest infraction by others. We can be overly rajasic when we overschedule our lives so much that we have no time for reflection. This can also be a way to avoid or deny our issues, which can only lose their power once they have been embraced. Sattva does not have a negative aspect as it is the healthy energy of a balanced state.
So the question is, how did you do today? Did you make choices that bring balance to your life? And are you prepared to make the active sensitive adjustments to keep your personal sense of balance? I hope the answer is YES! and more YES! It is this way that you find love in yourself, your day, your life! Peaceful courage abounds! Silvia