Ayurveda recognizes the importance of the mind in the journey towards health. Our minds are the filter through which all the sensory data passes through, and so maintaining a balanced mind directly impacts our experience of ourselves and life.
In the ancient teachings, there is a specific language used to talk about the mind and the facets of mind. When the mind is balanced, harmonious and clear, we call this “Sattva”. From Sattva, the mind will tend in one of two directions:
~ The first is Rajas, which is when the mind expresses quality of mobility, and becomes active, busy, and sometimes agitated. Anxiety is extreme rajas.
~ The second is Tamas, which is heavy and dull in quality. Tamas expresses in sleep and inertness. Depression is extreme tamas.
It is natural for the mind to move between sattva, rajas, and tamas. We need rajas when we are in action, tamas for healing, and sattva to re-fill our well of energy. That said, from a yogic view, we intend to cultivate or build our sattva as much as possible. One of the best tools to cultivate sattva is meditation.
Meditation helps to break our addiction to thinking. It is a set of techniques, and also a particular state of mind.
Meditation techniques help us to refine our concentration and develop our ability to be mindful and present. Once we can do this, then it changes how we feel as we spend more and more time in sattva.
Honestly, anyone can meditate and there are many techniques – yoga nidra, breath meditation, mantra, shamata (calm abiding), mindfulness, metta (loving kindness) to name a few. If you want to become a skillful meditator, I suggest finding a qualified teacher. The path of meditation can be challenging, and having a guide to support you along the way is incredibly helpful.
If meditation is something you would like to try, Janati Yoga School and Lululemon Athletica Kingston are offering a meditation experience at Janati Yoga on Thursday December 17th from 6:30pm to 7:30pm. It’s a free event and everyone is welcome. We’re going to talk about meditation, then experience Yoga Nidra (and time permitting some Metta meditation too).
This holiday season, give yourself the gift of a harmonious mind – it’s a game changer!
Mona teaches Ayurvedic Yoga at the Janati Yoga School in Kingston Ontario, where she lives with her wonderful husband, their enthusiastic dog, and ninja kitten. When she’s not teaching, practicing or talking about yoga, you might find her enjoying a good meal, kayaking, climbing a mountain in Ireland, or zip-lining over a forest in Costa Rica, Roatan, or Whistler BC.