Ayurveda, Yoga and The Mind
Ayurveda means Science of Life, which goes beyond the physical body’s health. According to the ancient scriptures, the mind creates an energy field that continuously reacts to itself and interacts with other beings.
I have not written a blog in a while as I have been studying a lot. With my new findings in Ayurveda and Yoga philosophies, I have been testing them on myself.
In the past, I looked at Ayurveda as an ancient Eastern medicine and yoga as a way to exercise and stretch my body. Oh boy, was I mistaken?
What are Gunas?
There are three types of energies or gunas in our mind, according to Ayurveda:
1- Sattva is the energy of harmony, contentment, peace, and clarity. We feel centered and strong.
2- Rajas is related to movement energy. So in excess, it can make us agitated, tired, and stressed. Nevertheless, it’s needed to bring change and passion.
3- Tamas is the energy of inertia. It represents the power of ignorance that hold us back when we need to change. In excess, it can cause lethargy and depression.
These different energies or gunas can be balanced using breathing exercises (pranayama) combined with the ‘asanas,’ also known as yoga poses. They impact our emotions and the way we face life — check the pictures for more information.
Modern medicine says that we can help our physical body become healthier through a balanced diet and exercise. Our minds also play an essential role in our overall health; that’s one of the reasons why #mentalhealth is a crisis these days.
The way we think is even more relevant for people with lupus, as anxiety, sadness, and depression can trigger flare-ups and vice-versa. It can quickly become a vicious cycle.
A healthy mind depends on the quality of friends we choose, the type of conversations we have, the movies we watch, the books we read, how we relate to our family, and the type of food. These are all information we take in, like food for our minds, and a wholehearted mind creates a healthier body.
Our mind is inherently sattvic. It was created completely clear and harmonious. However, it loses its pure quality when we have negative thoughts or emotions, such as fear, greed, anger, or regularly eating an unhealthy, unbalanced diet, etc. It becomes rajasic (agitated) or tamasic (lethargic). I bet you can relate to that after these past two years… I can!
Think about how your body responds when you are angry, scared, or eat way too much sugar or carbs. You may experience a jump in your heartbeat, feel anxious, have stomach pain, or have nausea.
Mental Health and the Guna Sattva
A person’s mental wellness depends on how much ‘sattva’ it has in her/his/their mind.
Good choices can make a massive impact on our quality of life. A slight positive change every day can go a long way. I like to compare it to a bank savings account. If we have the discipline to make ongoing small deposits, we will have extra cash for an emergency or buy that dream outfit—the same works with our mindset, lifestyle, and dietary choices. Small changes can bring significant results after some time.
Yoga and Ayurveda
Both Yoga and Ayurveda’s goal is to make us more harmonic inside and out, which means helping sattva be the predominant ‘guna’ in our mind. We can remove ‘rajas’ and ‘tamas’ and increase ‘sattva’ with positive thinking, breathing, and meditation.
A while back, I wrote a blog about our doshas. Well, doshas and gunas are very connected. When we combine the gunas with a person’s dosha, it affects one’s personality. With my Vata constitution, I can be very enthusiastic when sattva is in harmony, anxious with rajasic, or depressed when tamasic. So, by paying attention to my behavior and thoughts (self-awareness), I can notice what I need to work on to feel better.
Feeling a Little Anxious?
Maybe this is new for you, but why not try to take a few deep breaths when you are feeling anxious?
1. Inhale, count for 4
2. Hold for 2 seconds
3. Count for 6 in your exhale.
Do that exercise a few times, and you will notice a change in how you’re feeling. Notice the air coming out of you; I bet you will feel less anxious!
Need a Little Push?
If you need a little more energy, do the opposite:
1. Inhale for a longer time than exhale. Don’t force for too long in the beginning.
2. Pay attention to the air coming in and out of your nostrils.
We can show up for ourselves by simply breathing consciously. It takes a few minutes to feel better, and no special gear or place.
Do you want to learn more about yoga poses that can help relieve stress and anxiety? Let me know in the comments area.
So, what type of energy or guna is your mind right now? Follow my Instagram page to learn more ways to be healthier with Ayurveda and manage your everyday life!