You might have noticed that whenever we try to develop new habits, we come across a significant internal resistance. For example, if you want to start regular exercise, practice meditation, or to start learning music, in spite of your best intentions, quite often you are not able to sustain it for a long time.
Would you like to know, why it happens and how we can overcome the internal resistance?
Well, according to yogic knowledge, our behavior is governed by three Gunas i.e. tamas, rajas, and sattvic. The tamas is characterized by lethargy, dullness, and low energy. The rajas is associated with ambitions, feverishness, and activities. And sattva is related to peace, calmness, and happiness. Each one of us has all three gunas in different proportion. When rajas dominate, we get more involved in getting things done, when Tamas dominates, we feel more lethargic and dull. When sattva dominates, we feel more contented and peaceful.
When we want to bring a change in our life, it originates from the sattvic state of mind. However, if sattvic tendencies do not drive our action (Rajas), it will be difficult even to start the change forget about sustaining the change. The tamasic tendencies in the body will make it difficult to bring the change.
The yogic practices e.g. asanas, pranayama, and meditation help in increasing the sattva in us that in turns help in bringing the positive changes. It is like, although the sun is shining and our window is covered with a curtain (tamasic tendencies), light can’t enter the room. We have to simply open the window to allow the light into the room. Food also plays a major role in balancing the three gunas and this I will discuss in a separate blog.
Increasing the sattva by practicing yoga is like removing the hurdles in our pathway and clearing the way to flow the energy. Practicing yoga facilitates in bringing out the best; that’s why it is called skill in action is yoga.
- How to know God- The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali: Translated by Swami Prabhananda and Christopher Isherwood
- Various talk by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at the public forums (The founder of the Art of Living organisation).