Seeing yourself through the lens of the Gunas

We all know and love the story of Goldilocks and the 3 bears. Just as some porridge is too salty, some is too sweet and some is just right… we can learn to balance out our energy with the use of an ancient philosophy devised by yogis thousands of years ago.

According to these ancient yogis, all of matter (including us humans) is a mixture of 3 qualities or energies – known as the 3 Gunas.  These may sound a little abstract at first, but even if you have only been practising yoga for a short while the chances are that this will make sense to you – you have probably observed in yourself these 3 qualities at one time or another:-

The busy bee – all action, flighty and rushing around – this is known as Rajas. Rajas is the energy of change, we know it through the feelings of passion, desire, effort and pain.

The solid rock – stillness and inertia – this is known as Tamas. We know Tamas as a feeling of lethargy, dullness and heaviness.

The light of illumination – clarity and tranquillity – this is known as Sattva. Sattva is not necessarily happiness but a moment of inspiration, beauty and contentment.

A balance is required of all the Gunas in our life – all are good!  It’s when we have a dominance of one type of energy that  our lives can get out of kilter. The regular practice of yoga teaches us the ability to take a step back from the day to day coming and goings of life.  This enables us to see through the lens of the Gunas where we are with our energy and how we can redress the balance.

According to yogic philosphy –

An excess of Rajas leads to wilful stubbornness, tiredness and disease.

An excess of Tamas leads to delusion, obscurity and ignorance.

We can cultivate more Sattva in our lives through meditation. By observing our actions and reactions in a non-judgemental manner – being mindful that we will always be a mixture of the 3 Gunas, our job is to try to balance them out.


be here now

“Start doing yoga from where you are now. Not from where you were yesterday, not tomorrow, not next week. Start from the present. HERE  begins the teachings of yoga with the right intent at the right time… NOW.  If you seek a class teacher (which is advisable), find a teacher who you feel comfortable with, that creates the right energy in the room, that is in touch with the students. Use your discernment. ”

This is Verse 1: Chapter 1 from Michelle Corrigan’s ‘Your quest for a spiritual life’, a little helpful book that she wrote of her interpretations of Patanjali’s Sutras. I find it an excellent source of information, inspiration and an up to date, modernised version of the Sutras.