Embrace ALL of YOU - And Don't Forget Your Smile!

Updated: Nov 19

Awareness and choice are the most powerful tools we have at our disposal when considering the actions we will take; and if we have a clear understanding of our Prakriti (natural state), our Vikruti (current state), and our Manasvikruti (current mental state), we become powerful agents of change in our own health and wellbeing (see previous articles for links to these assessments).

Embrace ALL of YOU (and don't forget to smile)

In my last article, we explored the cosmological and philosophical perspective of Ayurveda and how all encompassing it is. In this brief article, we will take the exploration a level deeper into the three universal energies that are always present, and in flux; known as the three Gunas - Sattva, Rajas and Tamas.


I'll admit that all these terms seem confusing; but underlying them are powerfully simple principles that, once understood, can help us to make incremental changes in our lifestyle that shift us towards better health.


If you remember that there are three Doshas that make up our own personal constitution (or natural state); the next layer of understanding imbalance comes from the Gunas of Tamas, Rajas and Sattva:

  • Tamas is responsible for sleep, inertia and laziness. As you read those words, you can feel the heaviness of tamas energy. Tamasic foods are heavy, processed and dull both the mind and body - things like meat, eggs, pastries, fermented foods and alcohol. Tamas in day to day life looks like sitting on the sofa watching Netflix; which is a great way to relax for a period of time, but in excess dulls our senses. Tamas is the experience of apathy, depression and disheartened emotions; so it's important to pay attention to what you allow into your mind and body, particularly with television and media which is increasingly tamasic (violence, etc).

  • Rajas is the energy of action, movement and acceleration. Rajas is passion and it sees us pursuing our wants and needs through the senses, through attachments and longing. Rajistic emotions are anger, euphoria, anxiety, fear, determination and these can all be helpful at one time or another when in balance with sattvic emotions. Rajistic foods include things like coffee, energy drinks, sugary sodas and other stimulating drinks that increase mental activity. Rajas in your day or your workplace will include exercise, chaos and stress and spending too much time in this energy is already shown to have a significantly negative impact on your wellbeing. When balance with adequate rest and downtime, Rajas can be balanced. Rajistic music hypes our energy and sensationalism excites our senses.

  • Sattva - this is a state of balance, harmony and stillness. It's qualities are clean, peaceful, quiet, creative and positive. A sattvic life is one that exists in balance with the seasons and the cycles, where emotions are calm, cheerful and loving. Sattvic food is fresh, nourishing and mostly vegetarian. If this sounds too saccharine and otherworldly, it's important to remember that each state is impermanent and that each quality serves a purpose throughout our lives - if only to reflect on how we don't want our lives to be. Sattva helps to balance the suffering brought about by excess tamas and rajas. The real goal is to go beyond even sattva and to be completely free of Prakriti.

A very helpful analogy for understanding the gunas is shared by Unbroken Self, which is "to think of three buckets of water:

  1. The first bucket, tamas, is filled with mud so the water is cloudy and murky. You can’t see anything in muddy water. Even if it’s a bright, sunny day, you’ll see no reflection in the water. That’s why tamas is known as the obscuring guna.

  2. The second bucket, rajas, is agitated; the water is choppy and always moving. There might be light reflected on the water surface, but due to the movement, it only appears in dancing glimmers. Rajas is projecting; we can see there’s light but because the water is moving we think the light is moving.

  3. The third bucket, sattva, is completely still and clear. Without obstruction or agitation, the water is a perfect medium for the light to shine. That’s why sattva is considered to have a revealing quality. When the mind is sattvic, we see things as they actually are."

Rajas is the energy of action, movement, and acceleration. Rajas is passion and it sees us pursuing our wants and needs through the senses, through attachments and longing. Rajistic emotions are anger, euphoria, anxiety, fear, determination and these can all be helpful at one time or another when in balance with sattvic emotions. Rajistic foods include things like coffee, energy drinks, sugary sodas and other stimulating drinks that increase mental activity. Rajas in your day or your workplace will include exercise, chaos and stress and spending too much time in this energy is already shown to have a significantly negative impact on your wellbeing. When balance with adequate rest and downtime, Rajas can be balanced. Rajistic music hypes our energy and sensationalism excites our senses.

If we didn't experience the inertia or tamas, we could not appreciate the movement of rajas; and without both of those qualities, we could not appreciate the clear stillness of sattva. Taking a perspective of acceptance, compassion and humility helps us to come from understanding which empowers us to create change.


One of the tools at our disposal is the physical practice of yoga asana to help shift our mental state and discipline the mind while releasing tension from the body. Yoga and the mind-body connection will be covered in another article; suffice to say that the style of yoga you choose is as important as the food you eat, the media you consume and the environment you live in. In brief:

  • Excess tamas can be balanced by getting things moving - a more robust asana practice that includes sun salutations, vinyasa that keeps the body moving helps to shift the lethargy and inertia out of the body; as do energising pranayama techniques like kapalabhati and Nadi Shodhana.

  • Excess rajas can be balanced by focusing on breath to body connection and incorporating asana techniques that hold poses longer, are more restorative with forward bends, back bends but without the movement of sun salutations and vinyasa. Pranayama will include and cooling techniques like Shitali and Ujjayi breath.

It is this awareness of the energies that influence our lives; from our choice of music, movies, media, foods and even our work that helps us to make changes that will lead us closer to the kind of life we most want to live.


Awareness and choice are the most powerful tools we have at our disposal when considering the actions we will take; and if we have a clear understanding of our Prakriti (natural state), our Vikruti (current state), and our Manasvikruti (current mental state), we are become powerful agents of change in our own health and wellbeing (see previous articles for links to these assessments).


If you'd like to deep diver into your own life and create change, let's do it together. Book in at http://book.timsnell.co


#AyurvedaYogaTherapy #Ayurveda #EmbracingYou #Acceptance #SelfLove #HealthyLife

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