Have you noticed the intricate similarities between ourselves and the universe? The
resemblance has always been uncanny. Just like the world around us is composed of Vayu
(Air), Jala (Water), Aakash (Space or ether), Prithvi (Earth) and Teja (Fire), our minds
too are made up of Triguna (Tri- Three, Guna- qualities or mental energies).
Triguna refers to the psychic constitution of our brains, namely Sattva (Mode of Purity),
Rajas (Mode of Passion), and Tamas (Mode of Inertia). To simplify, one may regard this as an innate personality.
Each guna is a fragment of manas prakriti (mental composition), when these three gunas
are in balance, they inspire harmony.
Let’s now try to understand these qualities and their characteristics.
Sattva: Characteristic of goodness, calmness, and mental clarity. It is responsible for cognitive and sensitive perception.
Rajas: Characteristic of movement, passion, and stimulation. Desire and drive are obtained from this guna.
Tamas: Characteristic of resistance, heaviness, and inertia. Its prevalence can cause disturbances in the perception and functioning of the mind. Laziness, lethargy, apathy, and delusion can stem from it.
Each one of us comprises a varied proportion of these gunas. The higher ratio of these three then governs a behavioural tendency. But the idea isn’t complete yet. Ayurveda being a holistic science, Ayurvedic psychology cannot be understood without first pairing it with its physiological facet. Meaning, developing an understanding of Deha Prakriti (physical composition) becomes crucial to establish well-being.
According to Ayurvedic philosophy, along with the Triguna, our bodies are also composed of the three doshas, Vatta (energy of movement), Pitta (energy of digestion), and Kapha (energy of structure).
Vatta: Responsible for internal processes like circulation, respiration, and the functioning of the nervous system.
Pitta: Responsible for perceiving bodily sensations, transformations and chemical actions
Kapha: Responsible for influencing the Manas-Deha connection while demonstrating structure and stability.
The doshas are combinations of the five elements we discussed earlier. They manifest as patterns in vivid physical creations.
“But how are they related anyway?”
The doshas and Triguna are intrinsically related, which means that they synergistically determine the personality composition at the psychological and physical levels. When doshas, or functional energy principles, are in balance with Trigunas they exude serenity.
I know what you’re thinking,
“But what happens when they plunge into an unbalanced state?”
“And how does that happen in the first place?”
Naturally, one or two doshas dominate our physiology. The innate doshic state keeps changing with time. It depends on factors such as the external environment, diet, emotional state, and stress levels. Dosha aggravation causes imbalance and puts the body in a state of dis-ease. This is where illnesses manifest.
To understand how these connect with the psychological state of a being, we must first understand the established equivalence.
It can be said that Raja guna and Pitta doshas are coequals.
Rajas Guna = Pitta Dosha
Along with them, Tamas guna and Kapha doshas are also coequals.
Tamas Guna = Kapha Dosha
But this statement cannot be duplicated for Vatta dosha. It’s because of Vatta dosha’s ability to govern all movements in the mind and body, making it the principal of all three doshas. An imbalanced Vatta can also cause imbalances in Pitta or Kapha dosha of a person. Therefore Vatta balance becomes highly important to establish overall wellness.
Elaborating further, a Pitta imbalance might steer negative emotions like anger, jealousy, aggression, and competition that are characteristic of Rajas Guna. Whereas an aggravated Kapha imbalance may exhibit greediness, heightened emotions, and unhealthy attachments that are characteristic features of Tamas Guna. As for Vatta, because it can govern all the doshas, it’s likely that any of the previously stated qualities may be expressed.
Now that it is all starting to make sense, the reason for experiencing sudden episodes of anxiety, or repeating self-sabotaging thoughts must be evident.
Here is when Ayurvedic psychology comes into play. This age-old science intends to calm conditioned consciousness (Chitta), develop intelligence (Buddhi), control the mind (Manas), and let go of the ego (Ahamkara). The beauty of Ayurveda is that it views the body as a microcosm. This idea prevents it from viewing bodily systems in isolation and promotes overall well-being.
The Mind and mental health
Here are some simple yet effective ways to resolve tangled emotions and release mental ama (toxins).
- Journaling: Oftentimes, emotions like regret, doubt, fear, and anger may lead to decreased mental clarity. It’s vital to have a healthy emotional outlet where we can freely express ourselves. This prevents frequent breakdowns and helps with mental fatigue. If this reason doesn’t excite you to create a journal right now, there’s another viewpoint that I’d like to share. Consider seeing it this way, we humans have been made such that our bodies are capable of perceiving so many different sensory inputs and emotions. Be it love, sadness, fear or anger, emotions are like colours that fill our lives and paint our memories with different hues of it. Allowing ourselves to feel these intense emotions and capturing all these memories in this magical book helps us to transition back into nostalgia. Imagine, being able to re-live that one sunny morning on the beach with your dog over and over again. How beautiful would it be? Life happens once, why not make the most of it? And for the not-so-good memories, well it’s a place to dump them all and release them. Reading over them may even give you a new perspective and can be a cathartic experience.
- Gratitude: Adopting the practice of gratitude allows one to shift their perspective and focus on the greater good. It is a powerful force that fills the heart with wholesomeness and illuminates blessings along the way. Being in a state of abundance invites vitality and allows the being to be its higher self. Brownie points for it because it also helps alleviate stress and anxiety that further contribute to dosha imbalance
- Meditation & breathwork is the practice of regaining internal balance. Through controlled breathing and focused concentration, meditation helps us realign our chakras (energy centres) and experience inner peace. These sessions do not have to last hours; even five minutes of meditation can help you fine-tune your response to your body’s needs. Increased self-awareness and self-esteem are two byproducts of it that make one resilient to any situation that may arise.
We hope that this article inspires you to embrace this abundant lifestyle!
If you’re feeling called to learn Ayurveda & Women’s health on a deeper level, then I invite you to enrol into our AYURVEDA ALCHEMIST program! Be it embarking on the journey of pursuing your dharma or enhancing your abilities as a holistic health coach, or amplifying your own health & wellness, this certification program covers it all.
“To my surprise, this was not only a journey to becoming an Ayurvedic lifestyle coach, but also a self-healing journey.”
– Natalie Grace
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