You may have heard of one of the most ancient healing systems in the East – Ayurveda? Ayurveda means “Science of Life”. And this science can be applied to any person, here and now.
Ayurveda is based on the belief that health and well-being depend on the balance between the physical, emotional and spiritual part of each person. Therefore, it focuses on prevention, first striving to balance the body and psyche, and thus make us less vulnerable to imbalances and diseases. It achieves this easily with lifestyle tips, appropriate foods and most of all with herbs that nourish for every different state of mind and bod, such as ashwagandha and turmeric for example, which are suitable for every different state of mind and body and can easily bring us back to our healthier and stronger selves.
Ayurveda and emotions
One of the interesting concepts of Ayurveda is that it has its own explanation of emotions and their reflection in our material body. She divides them into three different emotional worldviews – Gunas (Gunas) that cover different states of mind. According to Ayurveda, we all have the three of them and problems occur when one of them goes out of balance, especially the two of them associated with negative emotions. At this point in the imbalance, problems arise on an emotional level. Then we begin to see life only through the lens of this negative emotional state, and it distorts our whole perspective of reality.
Interestingly, Ayurveda provides a purely material solution to correct this problem, such as advice on changing daily habits, food and herbs to alleviate and change this imbalance in a positive direction.
Which are the three Gunas?
Sattva contains the most desired states, such as harmony, positivism, well-being, intelligence, light and perception. When our mind is in a dominant sattva state, we perceive reality in fullness and happiness, no matter what life offers us. Sattva is associated with the emotions love, joy, courage, focus, empathy, self-sufficiency, calmness and gratitude.
Rajas is the energy of change, activity, action and turbulence. It is associated with our passion and desire for people, objects and ideas. Having too much rajas is also associated with people who are prone to controlling behavior, also with ambition and authoritarianism. People with too much Rajas can easily become overstimulated and have difficulty resting and switching off. The emotions associated with rajas are stress, anxiety, fear, anger and euphoria. Excess rajas is also associated with direct manifestations in the body, such as heartburn, nausea and other digestive problems, especially during stress and very strong emotions.
Tamas is a state of darkness, inertia and ignorance. A mind with a dominant tamas makes people slow, low-motivated and stuck in one place in life. The emotions associated with tamas are laziness, apathy, boredom, sadness, guilt, confusion, hesitation, shame and addiction.
How to regulate the gunas and our emotions accordingly
Ayurveda associates certain foods and herbs with each guna and this gives us clear guidelines on how to balance them. We can consciously choose foods, herbs, and lifestyles that help us increase Sattva and decrease Rajas and Tamas when they are out of balance and overwhelmed us through negative emotions.
Raising Satva – Satva can be raised by practicing breathing practices, meditation and yoga. You can also eat food associated with this guna such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes, or in other words follow a plant-based wholefood diet.
Sattva herbs are strong and effective in filling you with calm and a sense of fullness, helping you to effectively increase sattva guna – Amalaki, Ashwaganga, Carramom, Cinamom, Cumin, Fennel, Ginger (fresh), Saffron, Sesame seeds, Shatavari, also chamomile, rose and mint
To reduce Tamas – We use everything that raises sattva. We also avoid tamasic foods – industrial and refined foods, red meat. Another thing that can increase tamas is too much sleep, so it is important not to oversleep. We must be active and on the move. Sometimes we need to raise Rajas first in order for the state of mind to kick us out of Tamas and then focus on raising Satva.
Herbs associated with tamas have a grounding effect. They can be used very carefully for people who are hysterical, or so stressed and anxious that they cannot think clearly or sleep. Tamastic herbs include garlic, nutmeg, poppy seed, valerian, asafoetida.
Balancing Rajas – here again we focus on sattva herbs and practices, it is also very important not to overdo any aspect of our lives – work, thinking, drinking and eating, even exercise. Nothing should be in excess. People with a lot of Rajas often overdo it with caffeinated beverages – coffee, tea, energy drinks.
Rajasthani foods include many hot and spicy food, fried food, caffeine and alcohol. They should be consumed in moderation.
We all have all the three gunas in us, the ability to experience all kinds of emotions, and we can’t eliminate any. The only important thing is to be able to assess where we are and make the right choice for balance and change.