Greeting & Namaste friends,
Happy September! I don't know about you, but I am excited for Mother Earth's transition to autumn and Vata season. I've definitely been enjoying the cooler early morning & evening weather--I even had a couple nights that I was able to turn off the AC and open up the windows. For any of you that have seen me these last couple weeks, you've probably noticed I've been walking around with my trusty pink flannel--growing up in NY & CT kids would wear their PJs inside out in hopes of a snow day, so I'm hoping that getting my flannel out will bring on the crisp fall air! As vata dosha increases in nature, be sure to start including more vata pacifying practices in your daily routine--especially if you have vata in your prakriti!
This month's newsletter is the final installment of a 5-part exploration into the energetic intersections of the doshas & chakras. We'll explore the mind, Ajna and Sahasrara chakras, and the pituitary and pineal glands!
The mind, or manas, is a special part of us human beings; is the seat of consciousness, the intellect and the ego. All three doshas share the mind space, affecting their various qualities on a person's psychological experiences. In addition, not only is the mind affected by the three doshas, but mind is also affected by the three gunas.
Meaning "quality," the Sanskrit word guna is a concept that not only conveys certain metaphysical & energetic qualities, but also psychological & emotional qualities. Everything in nature--including us human beings--contains all three gunas, just like the doshas. Furthermore, just like the doshas, the gunas exist in different combinations and have an effect on how something or someone behaves. Sattva guna is a harmonious energy, Rajas guna is a reactive energy, and Tamas guna is a destructive energy.
"The gunas indicate the mental traits respectively of clarity, distraction and dullness," says David Frawley & Suhas Kshirsagar. "They show the sensitivity of the mind, its capacity to perceive truth and act according to it."
Sattva bestows a harmonious quality of mental clarity, awakened consciousness and clear perception. Because of this, sattva is a divine nature that elevates a human beings propensity for Self-awareness.
Rajas is an agitated mental quality that causes distraction, frustration or--in excess circumstances--even violence. Rajas leads people to live in the Ego and seek out external fulfillment. Since rajas encourages selfish desires and personal power as the ultimate life goals, it can enable manipulative, controlling and prideful behavior in people.
Tamas is a quality of dullness, and, in the mind, creates clouded perception, ignorance and fear. Negative thoughts & emotions, minimal mental focus and attachment to the external world are manifestations of tamas. Due to the darkened state-of-being this guna creates, it leads humans to resist positive changes and be preoccupied in their basic animal nature such as food, sleep, sex & survival.
"Pure sattva affords enlightenment and Self-realization. A pure rajas type can be very successful in the outer world but lacks inner awareness and sensitivity," Says Frawley & Kshirsagar. "A pure tamas type is caught in darkness and inertia that can lead to incapacity and additions."
Just like we have--and need--all three doshas balanced in our body, so we need all three gunas to keep us positive in life, motivated in an activity and bring us down to sleep at night. However, uplifting sattva guna and living a sattvic lifestyle leads to a healthy mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. Living and behaving rajasic will inevitably lead to a tamasic state-of-being. According to Frawley & Kshirsagar,
"Our culture today is very rajasic--highly distracted, disturbed, hyperactive and over stimulated. Some rajasic traits within us may be owing to outer circumstances rather than being indicative of our own inner disposition. Yet excess rajas leads to tamas, just as excess activity leads to exhaustion. After our excessive activity, we often fall into states of low energy, inertia and depression. For this reason, tamas often prevails at the end of our hectic lives."
Not only is living a sattvic lifestyle good for our overall well-being, but cultivating sattva guna allows for the unblocking and balancing of the two chakras that exist in the region of the head: Ajna and Sahasrara.
The sixth chakra is the third-eye center of Ajna. Meaning "command," this chakra is the seat of the discerning mind, illuminating wisdom and individual consciousness,