Gunas and Doshas

Despite a heavy few weeks at work, I have had a good few practice sessions at home. Perhaps that kept me going through some intense projects with a clear and sharp head. There are old flaws that have revealed themselves yet again and my recent readings have shed light on those areas. 

Chapter 14 in the Bhagwad Gita talks about the gunas and it set off a lot of connective thoughts regarding the Doshas and Tattvas. Swami Chinmayananda explains gunas as ‘the “attitude” with which the mind functions’ rather than “properties“. 

“Many a seeker ends his brilliant and promising spiritual career because, on his way to self-perfection, he develops “engine trouble,” and, not knowing why his mind behaves in the peculiar fashion, he gets victimised by lust or passion and suffers from the sorrows of his spiritual fall. A knowledge of this chapter assures us of a steady progress on our path, as it introduces us to the secret methods of the mind on all occasions.”

– Swami Chinmayananda in his commentary on The Holy Geeta

In a very personal context, I thought of my instant and almost overpowering attraction towards barefoot running. It was love at first sparsha!  Constitutionally, I would be considered predominantly vata and that explains the affinity towards running and the need for grounding with Mother Earth. The contact with the ground is a powerful connection when I run.  That is also when I feel closest to everything that lives. With the air element in excess, having the grounding of the earth is a good way to balance the flightiness, despite the movement.

all elements at play on a run…

Work has been very interesting although time and thought consuming. As much as I try to reduce my involvement, situations force me to step right back in. I guess I should stop trying to do so and embrace it wholly. Truth be told, I enjoy what I do and seeing the organization evolve into a solid business from the start-up that it was. The founder is a wonderful man and we have a small yet passionate team. In retrospect, being associated with the company has been instrumental in a change in my food habits as well. I’ve donned many hats at this place and enjoy the flexibility it provides to manage my home as well as get to class. The office is about 500m from my place which is a huge time saver. So, what am I really fighting?

The girls at work still make it for our weekly session of yoga and I actually enjoy sharing what I know. At the same time, I wonder if I should continue, considering that I am not a teacher. But, it has settled into a routine now and the best part is all of them practise regularly at home too. One of the girls said that she felt more focused and confident and that her brother also practises everyday. It is worrying and promising at the same time about how things get transmitted. Yet somewhere I think that if they are sincere, the practice will teach them. I receive far more than they do everytime I show them something. It forces me to revise my basics, read up on the asanas and keep it simple. I can now see how the big actions we learnt last year were important now that we are looking at the next set of actions in an intermediate class. Back then, if I adjusted my shoulders in tadasana, I lost the attention in my knees and the actions would happen in a sort of sequence. It was like learning to drive, quite exhausting to remember all the coordinated moves. Now, it’s more like a simultaneous set of adjustments. 

Yoga has blessed me with great energy and enthusiasm. It doesn’t strike me how much, until I step back and review all that I do. And then it is humbling because I know it is not on my steam but that which chooses to express through me.

Hari Om

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