Based on the quality of my tone, the words that come out of my mouth, the expression on my face and the subject matter, my husband can pretty quickly tell if my most truest, balanced self is manifest and speaking or if one of the more dysregulated versions is active. The version of myself that can be dysregulated is not at all like my true self. Instead, she is usually protective and fierce or biting and critical. None of these qualities are energies that are balanced, calm or peaceful.
In Ayurveda, we would say that the balanced calm energy is sattva, the agitated dynamic energy is rajas, and the negative, lethargic energy is tamasic. These energies are referred to as gunas or qualities. Understanding one’s mental state, or energetic tendency, can help usher in clarity, balance, and calmness. No energetic quality is bad in and of itself, and it’s also important to understand that the three energetic gunas are present in everyone and they vacillate at different times of the day. By noticing and understanding one’s guna type, one can better understand one’s mental state of being, as well the depth and path of one’s soul….ultimately, one can be more evenly aligned with their most perfect self.
Sattvic Energy is aligned with harmony, awareness, and the universe. Contentment is pure and present, attachments to others and material objects is minimal, love is universally connected, and there is the presence of not being “bound” to the cycle of life and death nor karmic ties. There is purity in action and thought and an accuracy in perception. Sattvic qualities can be encouraged through a vegetarian diet, a daily meditation and/or prayer practice, practicing the Yama of Ahimsa (non-violence), practicing the Yama of Satya (truthfulness), connect daily to earth and nature, and eating fresh fruits, steamed vegetables and including ghee in the diet.
Rajasic Energy ushers in a high level of energy and agitation within the body and mind…a sense of restlessness, there is a low level of contentment with others, there is often awareness of sensations like pain, displeasure, and suffering, there is minimal connection to a spiritual source and there is a tendency to action, movement, and stimulation. They tend to be very self-centered and focused on their own needs, but to those who are helpful and loyal, rajasic people are faithful loyal in return. They like to be in control, and can be controlling, they may have fits of anger, jealousy or rage, they tend to work hard, endure alot of stress, but they are also afraid to fail. Rajasic energy can be calmed through movement, being energized through active breathwork, practicing yoga, and using mudras and visualizations. Rajasic foods are spicy and fermented, and can include grains and legumes.
Tamasic Energy feels heavy, slow and uninspired, there is a tendency towards inaction both in thought and form, and there is an overall disconnection of awareness. One’s perspective is obstructed when this energy is present, they can’t see truth, hear truth, perceive truth or feel connected. There may be an unwillingness for basic cleanliness and self-care and there is a desire to just stop trying and sleep. Tamasic foods are heavy and grounding and include eggs, meat, mushrooms, garlic, and leftover food. Breathwork is quite slow paced with extended exhalations and yoga that is restorative and slow.
Chart out your mental tendencies in regular language, then label them as sattva, rajas, or tamas. Draw clarity by listing out opposite practices to balance the energy of your gunas, and then actively follow and implement these practices into your waking life….check-in with yourself, and after two weeks re-assess yourself to become aware of any natural shifts that are moving you closer to creating a more balanced, regulated, version of yourself.