We know the universe is composed of matter and energy. Energy vibrates all matter in
flowing wave patterns. All wave patterns continually fluctuate and change in direction and intensity; thus, change is an inherent quality of Nature.
According to Yogic philosophy, Nature is composed of the interaction of three forces called
"Gunas". Each Guna displays its own characteristics and cycles through a pattern of dominance and recession with the other two forces. This ebb/flow pattern continuously repeats itself, just like the waves and tides of the ocean, the change in the seasons and internal fluctuations within all living organisms.
The symbol "OM" represents the Gunas. Each flowing shape represents a Guna. "Rajas"
(Sankrit) is the Force responsible for activity. "Tamas" is the Force leading to inertia and sleep; "Sattwas" is the Force leading to observation of the other two forces - it can be referred to as the "neutral" state - the contemplative/meditative state. Notice the three shapes are aligned to meet at a single point - a "point of choice". It is at this meeting point that you can choose which Force you want to dominate your mind, body and spirit.
All three Gunas need to express dominance every 24 hours in order to maintain internal mental, physical and spiritual balance. When one Guna dominates too long, imbalance occurs and dis-integration of the whole living system ( person, organism) begins. Dis-integration may be self-induced or the result of external factors such as trauma, accidents or unexpected events; however, left unchecked, it leads to serious problems such as depression, poor health and eventually death.
The good news is....YOU HAVE CHOICE!
YOU ARE MENTALLY, PHYSICALLY & SPIRITUALLY OUT OF BALANCE WHEN ONE GUNA DOMINATES YOUR LIFE CYCLE.
The following symptoms arise:
TOO MUCH RAJAS
Over-working due to the need to complete tasks
Driven to succeed = Over-riding the body's need for rest
Indulging in stimulating activity, food and drink
Arguing & needing to control situation and other people
A racing mind you can't control, focus or get to concentrate
Focusing on the future & what still needs to be done
Worrying about what "might happen"
TOO MUCH TAMAS
Lethargic and disinterested in life experiences
Needing to indulge in long periods of inactivity
Wanting to sleep more than your normal requirement
Dull the mind: attracted to use of mind/mood altering drugs
No drive/depressed/feeling like giving up
Focused on the past
TOO MUCH SATTWAS
Stuck in your head & neglecting duties
So passive you accomplish nothing
So focused on the "big picture" you don't take care of details
Spacey and ungrounded in apparent reality
TO RESTORE BALANCE, ACTIVATE THE GUNAS THAT ARE DIMINISHED
IN YOUR DAILY LIFE EXPERIENCE
By making small changes in your routine, you are consciously choosing to
support your own wellness. Small changes become habits, freeing you from your past.
TO INCREASE RAJAS
Mentally focus on the task at hand = prioritize
Go into action by completing a task - one at a time
Focus on the presesnt moment and responded to "what is"
Engage in social and outdoor physical activities
Eat lighter foods and smaller portions
Practice Hatha Yoga to reduce stress
TO INCREASE TAMAS
Take some "down time" - rest, take a nap
Eat heavier foods that take longer to digest (meat, starch)
Take some "down time" - read or watch a movie
Enjoy "non-action" time without guilt
Enjoy solitude, stillness and quiet time
Slow down your breathing pattern
TO INCREASE SATTWAS
Contemplate philosophical/spiritual concepts and perspectives
Practice daily concentration practices & meditation
Spend time loving and watching your animals/children
Take a slow walk and notice the natural world around you
Express yourself through the Arts - music, drawing, painting, dance, etc.
Experience fasting (limit intake of food to 500 calories/1 time a week)
Self-observe yourself without judging yourself
Spend time observing Nature
Life is an experience worth living when you embrace each moment from a place of inner balance. Inner balance radiates from harmony with Nature itself; the flow of the Gunas.
Live each moment with awareness,
This video was recorded in 1995 during a live lecture on "The Gunas".
Restorative Hatha Yoga Mind & Meditation Practices
Personal Guide for Expanding Consciousness