Life in Balance
A few summers ago I went to a yoga retreat on a Greek island. The journey involved an eight hour ferry ride; most of us booked into the business lounge for a more comfortable ride. The weather decided not to cooperate and almost as soon as we left Pireaus the storm struck. Being in the front of the ship and high up the motion was exaggerated and the passengers were not well! I was one of the luckier ones and on walking into the centre of the ship I was struck by the lack of motion and the tranquility of the passengers. “What storm?” They were at the fulcrum and therefore relatively still and unruffled.
Yoga philosophy talks about the guna’s, these are three states of being, tamas, rajas and sattva. Tamas is the state of low energy, lack of movement, we need to be in a tamasic state in order to sleep. Rajas is movement or restlessness, we need this to get up in the morning and get on with our day. Sattva is balance, that still quieter place where we are poised and ready for whatever we need to do.
These states are both physical and mental, society deems that we ‘should’ be rajasic; on the move brimming with ideas living life to the full. It is a very seductive outlook but it can be exhausting. Too little sleep, too much travel, engagement with technology and an erratic diet can contribute to this state getting out of balance.
I used to think that Sattva sounded really boring, what is life without the ups and downs? But having (occasionally) experienced being in balance I am a fan. It is being poised; you feel awake, alive and clear. You know what you want to do and you get on with it. The feeling of peace and happiness that springs from this is wonderful. It’s like tapping into a wellspring that quietly and calmly fuels and guides your actions. I can highly recommend it.
How to find that state? Simple practical things first, regular sustaining food, low amounts of stimulants, cut down on screen time, good sleeping habits, regular gentle exercise and doing things you enjoy that give you a heart lift.
If you have a list of things to do, prioritise what you have to do by how you feel. Lots of energy? get on with the cleaning, less energy? Catch up with your emails or read a book.
Try keeping a gratitude diary and look for the good in everything, spend time outside and with loved ones.
Notice the happy feelings that bubble up inside you it’s an amazing experience.