Guarding the gate of 3 Gunas

We are complex beings capable of recognizing our energetic aspects, and fine tuning them. According to the philosophy embodied by a yoga practice, there are three main qualities, or aspects, that in different ratios, express themselves in our outward, and inward, energies:

  • sattva: that which is sattvic is harmonious, balanced, and constructive

  • rajas: that which is rajasic is active, passionate, and sometimes confused

  • tamas: that which is tamasic can be tired, destructive, and chaotic


Recently my life has been filled with a lot of rajasic energy lately. I recently sped out of the city two weeks ago to camp with a dear friend with majestic and powerful mountains. Three days later, I kicked off a 4-day intensive for a 200 hour teaching training. There was my already busy work schedule, and deep investment into a shifting career that includes a focus on parts of my business I am asked to learn quickly. Sure, it's life, and I'm grateful for each touchstone, but it's a LOT.


As I swung into dedicated and mindful action, I also found myself with expressions of the tamas aspect. I was exhausted. Thoughts of "I can't do this," or "who am I to even try?" sparked up around my mind. Tamas isn't just a tired feeling- it's a low space, that can often function as a restful and regenerative moment. But in this case, it showed up in self doubt, potentially as a direct response to the passionate, big, and hyper-connected moments. Or at least that is how I'm beginning to digest it. With these two polarities, I was seeking a more integrated moment of ease, one that would balance them, and introduce a bit more harmony.


This return to balance is only possible when we have the opportunity to identify and witness our swings between these three unifying aspects. Learning more about sattva, tamas, and rajas is a beautiful way we can get closer to ourselves, and begin to dial ourselves into a more integrated state of being. The reality of being-ness showed up only when I allowed myself deep rest even while the Seattle late summer nights beckoned me, release the work that I had already done and feeling that moment of pause, allowing the passionate moments to integrate. Space came forth, and allowed for sattva to take up more space, allowing a spaciousness and harmonious feeling for the weeks to come.


I write this as we shift seasons and move from summer to autumn. The wild summer in all it's forms is beginning to wane into longer days. As we begin to close out our year of 2020, this is the perfect opportunity to explore these aspects, how they show up, and how learning more about them can support the months ahead- how we hold, express, and relate to ourselves.


You are invited to join me for a Deeper Learning Series dedicated to the Gunas. If you are reading this after the course completes, please check out these ongoing dedicated morning practices designed to draw philosophy into your physical yoga practice.

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