gunas.

Weekend 3 of Yoga Tree Teacher Training: Friday night lecture and the weekend afternoons were dedicated to alignment.

The Gunas:

gunas_diagram

According to Ancient Indian Philosophy, there are three general states of mind, called gunas: tamasrajas, and sattva. Tamas is the state of heaviness or lack of movement; metaphorically, being stuck . A tamasic mental state could be characterized by a person feeling depressed, lazy and sluggish too often. Rajas implies movement. A rajasic mental state signals anxiety, restlessness, agitation, and even panic. Sattva is the mental state of clarity, peace, and balance of the two. Typically, a more tamasic person naturally gravitates toward Yin or Restorative yoga practices for example, while the more rajasic person is drawn to Ashtanga, Bikram or Vinyasa style practices.

Namaskara aka Sun Salutation is a great series of asanas to help energize if you are in a tamasic state as well as stabilize if you are in a rajasic state:

sun

If you are living with alopecia, most likely you are experiencing an extremely tamasic or a rajasic state of mind. Personally, my alopecia came with extreme anxiety and I naturally gravitated toward a rajasic yoga practice to cope – Bikram and Power Vinyasa. My six weeks of daily hot yoga was exactly what I needed to help let go of some of the trauma of alopecia. It alleviated my anxiousness, however, I realize now that my rajasic mind frame coupled with a rajasic practice is just what is most familiar to me. As true yogis we must practice to balance out the tamas and rajas to become more sattvic in body, mind and spirit. Our teacher suggested exploring the opposing styles as a direct counterpoint to our familiar practice. I took this direction and tried my first Yoga Nidra class last night and Yin Yoga class tonight.

Yoga Nidra is an ancient form of meditation that takes you into the deepest levels of relaxation, while remaining fully aware. Also known as yogi sleep, it is a sleep-like state that creates a profound state of physical, mental and emotional relaxation. Yin Yoga is slow-paced as well, but with postures that are held for comparatively long periods of time. Yin Yoga poses apply moderate stress to the connective tissues—the tendons, fascia, and ligaments—with the aim of increasing circulation in the joints and improving flexibility. Yin Yoga poses are also designed to improve the flow of qi, the subtle energy said in Chinese medicine to run through the meridian pathways of the body. Improved flow of qi is said to improve organ health, immunity, and emotional well-being.

sleeping-buddha-with-flower

I’ve only taken one class in each, but both were ah-mazing! I highly recommend exploring the unfamiliar;) For me, diving into all that is yoga has been the greatest medicine. I wish there was a cure for alopecia, but as you are well aware of, there isn’t and this can either be very depressing or generate extreme anxiety. I hope that you try Surya Namaskara – Sun Salutation at home… as a way to cope with alopecia. I promise that if you focus on your breath, an inhale/exhale with each movement, it will help alleviate the stress of alopecia or whatever you may be dealing with. Take good care. XO

max.ehrmann

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