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Remembering the Gunas this Holiday Season

Gunas are described as strand or rope that binds us into form. Any thing that is manifested has form so therefore is made of the three great gunas. The great/maha gunas are saatwa, rajas and tamas. Saatwa is intelligence, clarity, state of balance. Rajas is energy, passion, activity that causes imbalance. Tamas is substance and causes innertia, heaviness. You may already be thinking Saatwa is good while Rajas and Tamas are not. In and of themselves, none of the gunas are bad. All gunas are necessary in order to maintain form. As humans, we can not stay in balance at all times.

With that said, we are in the mist of an interesting time of the year. The holidays bring cheer, social events, preparations to host or attend such and then there is the gift buying. It is a season that gives us permission to over indulge in many ways from food to product, consumption oriented or rajasic. All the while, the weather is shifting to Winter which is wet, heavy and cold. These conditions often invite us to stay in, cozy up and get out of our routine activities or to be tamasic. We are actually doing both of these things to some degree everyday when we wake up, go to work/school, exercise, practice asana etc. or when we meditate, relax or sleep. As you can see, both are necessary. Sleep is Tamas but is necessary. If we sleep too much, we would not be productive and disintegrated from life.

Finding the Saatwic state when rajasic can be as simple as eating less indulgent foods, consuming less alcohol, selecting some social events to attend, keeping good bed times, less vigorous exercise or asana and calming pranayama or breath control. When in a tamasic state, balance can be found through a little more vigorous exercise or asana, practicing invigorating pranayama, eating warm veggies with some spice and waking up at good times/not sleeping in. Both Rajas and Tamas can find balance in Saatwa through service or acts of offering where our goals are not attached to fruit of personal achievements or egoic/identity self of separation from one another and meditation! After all Saatwa is the state of consciousness and meditation is Shiva’s favorite.


This article was submitted by Chae Yang. Practice with Chae Tuesdays at 6:30p and Thursdays at noon!

About Chae:
Chae began her yoga practice in 2001 and was very drawn to the philosophy. Her continued practice led to teaching public classes and delving in teacher trainings five years later. She has completed numerous trainings and immersions in Flow (including Prana Vinyasa), Anusara, Sadhana, Yogic Scripture, Subtle and Physical Anatomy, Prenatal/Postnatal Yoga, Yoga for Aging and Ayurveda.

She offers gratitude to her many teachers; especially, Shiva Rea for introducing the essence of Sadhana, Michelle Synnestvedt for showing the necessity of self inquiry, Shari Friederickson for helping find healing and her husband John for his boundless support. She continues asana studies with Christina Sell, Zhenja LaRosa and Carrie Owerko. Her classes are challenging and filled with compassion and laughter, offering a toolbox for living life. She has participated as teacher and assistant in Yoga Alliance approved teacher trainings since 2009. She is registered with Yoga Alliance as ERYT500, RYT500, RPYT.

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