Awareness in Autumn:
Shifting Seasons, Shifting Moods
Some of you may have been in class recently when I read the following quote from Doug Keller's Yoga as Therapy book:
"What makes the mind so powerful and difficult to 'still' is its rajasic impulse to DO- to think about what to do, and about what to do about what it is thinking and so on. By the same token, we are beset by the mind's tamasic tendencies towards sleepiness, boredom, and obsessiveness with replaying old memories, stored emotions and so on."
Keller is referring to the gunas, which can be translated from sanskrit to mean moods. The three moods are rajas, tamas and sattva. The tendency of the gunasis to move out of balance. With this in mind, when we are more aware of the gunas we can use them for self-transformation.
Rajas is the energy of movement. When rajas is balanced we can feel powerful, energized, and expansive. When rajas is out of balance, we can feel chaotic and exhausted. Tamas is immobile. When tamas is in balance, it can be experienced as feeling stable and rooted. Too much tamas can make us feel lethargic, stuck or bored. Sattva in balance is wholeness and light. Out of balance, it is experienced as disassociation and feelings of emptiness.
During times of transition, like seasonal shifts, we can experience feelings of instability. This can be a particularly important time to be aware of the gunas. There is a continuous interplay of the moods. When rajas and tamas serve to move towards sattva, we experience flow in our life and contentment. These moods can be experienced in both our mind and body. As we move from the season of summer (more characterized by rajas) towards the season of fall (more characterized by tamas), how can we experience all three gunas in balance and a sense of wholeness, rather than swinging from one side of the pendulum to the other?
I've included some self-care tips for you to try out. These recommendations are informed by mindfulness practices and Ayurveda (the sister science to yoga).