Thursday, 2 June 2011

Grooving with Gunas

One of my students this week admitted that when he gets on his mat he may or may not always be 100% on the case, shock. So who can claim to be present every second of the day, mat or no mat? What I find more interesting is the way we can transform our attitude by following our heart.

This is where I start to talk about the gunas. The three qualities of Prakriti (matter) which are present in all things. They're thought of as threads woven together, in varying quantities depending on the situation.  Tamas is related to earthy quality, rooted in the lower Chakras and responsible for the energy we need for rest and contemplation. Rajas is fire, energy, what we need to get us out of bed with a zing in the morning, linking to the mid-Chakras. And Sattva, conscience, when we’re aware of the other qualities and which we need in any given moment, related to the top Chakras.

What I love is the way our yoga practice and therefore, life, is a mirror to this. So often, when we get on our mats it’s the Tamas energy which is prevalent, we’ve just had a long day or just got out of bed and our brain is telling us it really would much prefer to hang out in front of the TV. Ah, so familiar! So it’s my responsibility as teacher to lift that energy, bring in the fire, warm you up and get you pinging again. Then we reach our apex and the energy is high, at this point we begin to initiate more Tamas, bringing the body back to equilibrium, grounding and rooting ready for what’s next. So when we finally come to Savasana the body is ready and willing to take rest, filled with Sattva, which we didn’t even notice we were cultivating all the time.

So we can flip things around both on an off the mat with conscious awareness. It so simple but so not easy. It takes time, dedication and listening to your heart. But it’s so worth it!

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