Welcome to the beginning of our discovery of the Gunas. In practice, this is where we explore the dynamic and static (holding a pose) Asanas as well as shaping our breath to experience the play of relationship between our movement, our breath and the Gunas. Everything in this manifest universe is made up of three strands – Three Gunas – Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. Guna literally means “strand” or “fiber” and implies that, like strands of a rope, the Gunas are woven together to form all that is tangible (material things) and intangible (thoughts, emotions, energies).
Understanding the nature of the Gunas can move us to recognise our true nature, which is pure consciousness, shape our extreme imbalances back to a ‘middle path’ and skilfully navigate this human experience to evolve our purpose of embodiment.
To simplify the Gunas at this point-
Sattva – quality LIGHT, purpose to ILLUMINATE, nature JOY
Rajas – quality MOVEMENT, purpose is ACTIVITY, nature PAIN
Tamas – quality STABILITY, purpose is INERTIA, nature DESPAIR
Rolf Solvic one of my teachers (Himalayan Institute)- maps out the process of working with the Gunas as they unfold systematically in four stages:
- The interplay of the Gunas occurs almost entirely outside of your conscious awareness.
2. You begin to notice the Gunas in the world around you and learn to recognise the feel of their distinctive qualities.
3. You witness your own sattvic, rajasic, and tamasic tendencies. (Physically, energetically, mentally)
4. Finally, you begin to sculpt your involvement with the Gunas—cultivating Sattva, softening Rajasic urges, and engaging Tamas in the service of stability and rest.
This practice opens the tools to use on and off the mat to heal, learn and evolve our embodied purpose which is to enjoy our lives as well as find freedom from that which causes pain and suffering. Resting in unsurpassed JOY!