As we continue to journey deeper into the path of yoga on the Soul Sanctuary, we constantly encounter intelligent principles that guide us more and more towards self-realisation and inner peace. For those who have been members of the Soul Sanctuary for a while, you will already understand the importance of covering not only the physical aspects of yoga, but also where the teachings of yoga stem from and the principles found in its philosophy.
While the five kleshas, (blog here), shed light on the obstacles we must overcome, there is another fundamental concept in yoga that helps us understand the very fabric of existence—the Gunas. Originating from the ancient Indian philosophy of Samkhya, just like the Kleshas, the Gunas play a pivotal role in shaping our experiences and perceptions of the world.
According to Samkhya, the universe is composed of three primary qualities, known as the Gunas: Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas. These qualities intertwine and blend to form all aspects of creation, including our own minds and bodies.
The Gunas are not considered obstacles like the Kleshas; rather they are the underlying threads that weave the tapestry of reality. Understanding their influence empowers us to navigate life with clarity and make choices that lead us closer to harmony and bliss. Through our yoga practice, both on and off the mat, we learn to navigate the intricate dance of the Gunas.
✨ By embracing the essence of Sattva, we attain clarity and inner peace.
✨ With the wisdom to harness Rajas, we unlock the potential for growth and transformation.
✨ By balancing Tamas, we dispel inertia and embrace the light of knowledge.
Read on to learn more:
THE FIRST GUNA:
Sattva: - embodies purity, harmony, and luminosity.
When Sattva predominates, the mind is clear, tranquil, and receptive to higher truths. It harbours feelings of joy, compassion and understanding towards ourselves and others.
On and off the mat, we strive to cultivate Sattva to establish a deeper connection with our true nature. Through a balanced lifestyle, wholesome diet and regular meditation, we create an environment that allows Sattva to flourish within us. As we let go of distractions and negative influences, Sattva gently unravels our inner brilliance, leading us towards self-awareness and spiritual growth.
THE SECOND GUNA:
Rajas: embodies passion and activity.
Rajas fuels ambition, desires and the pursuit for achievement.
When Rajas dominates the mind, we may find ourselves driven by restlessness, attachment and a constant need for external validation.
On and off the mat we acknowledge the importance of Rajas, but we make an effort to control its excessive tendencies.
Through asana and pranayama practices, we can learn to channel this vibrant energy towards positive pursuits and personal growth. By cultivating awareness of our desires and motivations, we can navigate the waves of Rajas and use its force to fuel our spiritual journey.
THE THIRD GUNA:
Tamas: embodies inertia, darkness and resistance.
It represents the state of stagnation, lethargy and ignorance. When Tamas prevails, the mind becomes clouded, hindering our ability to perceive reality clearly.
On and off the mat, we strive to balance Tamas by cultivating self-discipline and mindfulness. Through a regular practice we can break through the barriers of inertia, gradually illuminating the mind and awakening our innate wisdom. As Tamas dissolves, we find the courage to embrace change, break unhealthy patterns and move towards a life of purpose and meaning. With our Tamas energy in balance, we can lean into a slower and peaceful pace of life, without letting lethargy lead the way.
Like everything that ebbs and flows in life, the interaction of the Gunas within us is dynamic and ever-changing. Rarely does one Guna dominate completely; rather, they fluctuate in intensity based on our thoughts, actions and external influences. Our journey towards balance involves accepting the interaction between these qualities, cultivating a harmonious blend.
The Gunas are also interwoven within the ancient Indian holistic practice of Ayurveda, where the connection between the Gunas and Ayurveda is deeply rooted in the understanding of balance and well-being.
In Ayurveda, an ancient holistic healing system, the three Gunas—Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas—are not only concepts that shape the nature of the universe, but also integral forces within the human body and mind. Ayurveda recognises that imbalances in these Gunas can lead to physical, mental and emotional disharmony, resulting in various ailments and dis-ease. The meandering interplay of these qualities within an individual contributes to their overall health. Ayurvedic practices, including diet, lifestyle, herbal remedies and therapies are designed to restore and maintain equilibrium among the Gunas. By assessing an individual's predominant Guna composition, Ayurveda offers personalised guidance to enhance Sattva, manage Rajas and alleviate Tamas. This connection underscores Ayurveda's holistic approach to health, where understanding and balancing the Gunas play a pivotal role in achieving optimal well-being.
This month on the Soul Sanctuary we focus on the influence the elements the Gunas have in our practice and in our life. As we aim to do each month on the membership, we will embark on this journey together, honoring the wisdom of the Gunas and the philosophy of yoga and embrace their dance as we journey towards more harmony, balance and joy in our lives.
We have carefully curated our practices to make you aware of and balance your Gunas. Throughout November you will notice that we offer FIVE 30-minute practices, a philosophy video about the Gunas from our guest teacher Angie Tiwari and of course our members LIVE flow and Q+A.
As always we have our suggested Soul Sanctuary flows from the back catalogue (in black) that align with this month's theme, mapped out below in our printable calendar. You can also find these additional practices in the calendar function on our beautiful app or search for them on the membership on the website via desktop.
And don't forget - you can flow along with our monthly playlist HERE.
As we deepen our understanding of the Gunas and their impact on our lives, we gain the power to shape our reality consciously. By nurturing the qualities of awareness, equanimity, contentment and detachment, we embark on a journey towards self-mastery.