Okay, so I guess you can say there are many points of yoga, Danielle! Sure there are! Tons and tons. But today, I am writing about one that I think is the most important.
Besides stretching, exercising, getting those endorphins going, relaxing the nervous system, breathing…Yoga is about finding peace. Maybe that sounds a bit too spiritual for some of you, but it’s the truth. It’s all of our goals. Finding peace, finding happiness.
Have you ever left a yoga class feeling pure bliss? Just so much happier than you did before you started the class.
In Indian and yoga philosophy, there are three qualities known as gunas, which describe the natural tendencies of the mind and emotions. We all have emotions, some have more of one emotion than another, but this is what gives us our self-identity. A big part of yoga is finding that balance between emotions that come up when things happen in our life. Our practice gives us a place to find that balance, stability and peace so then we are done with Savasana, we are not done with yoga. We can take our yoga into the rest of our day and week.
That way you don’t start crying when you go to work because your dog ate your favorite new pair of shoes! Thank god this hasn’t happened to me…YET!
We have THREE GUNAS, different emotions, that we can learn to balance and be mindful of.
The Three Gunas
Literally meaning “pure”, this is a calm and clear state of mind. A sense of being complete and fulfilled. When in this state you are more thoughtful towards yourself and others. In yoga philosophy, this is known as our natural state of mind. Our mental balance is not dependent on something external, our inner environment is at peace and happy. *This is the state we want to achieve in yoga.
Driven by desire, needing or losing something. Obsession often gets brought up in this state. Rajas includes a lot of fear, anxiety and/or expectation about how things might turn out.
Confused state. Often indecisive, lethargic, self-destructive and harmful to others. In this state, one often doesn’t know what he or she is feeling or wants. However, this state also is the state that allows us to calm down when it is time to sleep.
If you ask me, I’d like to be Sattva all the time! However, we are a mix of these gunas, playing out at different times of the day. We need all three…Without Rajas we wouldn’t be driven and without Tamas we wouldn’t sleep! The GOAL is to find balance between all three and find Sattva as much as possible. AND YOGA DOES JUST THAT! It allows us to tap into Sattva perfectly to calm the mind and body, to find that peaceful state that allows us to react to the world and ourselves in a loving and happy-hearted way. AND THAT is that post-yoga feeling we all love and the reason we continue to come back for more.