Satva: Finding the Middle

Written by on January 23, 2018 in Conscious Living, Healing & Natural Remedies, Thrive with 0 Comments

Samkhya, the ancient school of classical yoga philosophy, describes the universe and all its qualities using three main humors, called Gunas. These qualities are Rajas, Tamas, and Satva. Understanding these basic qualities, described by an ancient philosophy may help us to find balance in our own lives. 

The first Guna is Rajas and generally describes everything that is building, energizing, and heating, either physically, energetically, or consciously. The opposite of Rajas is Tamas which describes everything that is grounding, calming, and inert, physically, energetically, or consciously. The skillful negotiation of the two brings about the essential middle path, Satva. 

According to Samkya, Satva is the sweet spot where, once in balance, the Universe can thrive. Yoga is one way of practicing finding Satva in our personal lives. For example, If you went into a yoga class feeling sluggish and tired (Tamasic) and came out feeling wired and spastic (Rajasic), you would not have served yourself other than to turn the switch to feel the opposite kind of miserable.

Instead, endeavor to find balance by self-regulating your yoga practice to bring yourself into balance. This means listening to your needs to first choose a style of yoga that will serve you in the moment and bring you into balance. It also means learning to regulate yourself while in the practice to negotiate the intensity of each pose to regulate body, mind, and spirit to arrive at Satva. 

When you arrive at Satva by balancing your yoga practice, you're left feeling both energized and calm, focused, and grounded. And consider that the sure way to find Satva at the end of your practice is to strive for Satva in each posture. 

Understanding this essential need for Satva, may require you to try out a different style of yoga so that you have more tools at your disposal in order to help you find Satva. For those of us who love to bliss out on energy (Rajas) and tend to take fast, hot, and challenging yoga classes, you can still keep your energizing practice as long as you leave feeling Satva. If you ever begin to feel either too wired or to tired after a class, remember that maybe what you need is a Restore Yoga class or a meditation class. Also, those of us who could indulge in Tamas and stay on our cozy meditation cushions all day long, keep it us as long as you're feeling Satva. If ever you leave class feeling either sluggish or antsy, maybe you could try a flow class or perhaps even walking to yoga studio to add some energy in order to find Satva.

Most importantly, cultivating your listening for the what you truly need is essential to arriving at balance. It's in a balanced state that you will thrive in your yoga practice and learn to thrive in your daily life. 

Scott Moore Yoga

Photo by Dallas Graham

Scott Moore is a senior teacher of yoga and mindfulness in New York City and when he's not teaching or conducting retreats, he writes for Conscious Life News, Elephant Journal, Mantra Magazine, and his own blog at Scott also loves to trail run, play the saxophone, and travel with his wife and son. Check out his Guided Meditations for Sleep™ and yoga retreats to places like Hawaii and Amalfi Coast and his Yoga Teacher Mentor Program


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