My sister has newly retired after 38 years of running her own business, she now needs to adapt to a very different lifestyle. I have been teaching yoga well probably 30 years. Now we have time to talk .Rae is ringing me often, most excited as she has discovered Yoga. Fallen under the spell of the magic and science of Yoga. She has even asked asked teacher for homework. Very determined, I suspect that she is still running her body as she ran her business. And so she’s learning the Sanskrit names for the postures and is determined to be able to move with the same grace as her teacher. I very much admire her dedication, but I feel I need to slow her down a little, when I can finally get a word in my advice to her is to do her sun salute when her muscles are warm or her muscles will feel worn very quickly.
It then becomes too difficult. This is why people cease something that is inherently good and can definitely change their lives for the better.
Tip: I will tell Rae you cannot Meditate when you are tired , body needs sleep.
You cannot Meditate when you are bad tempered. Get out your yoga matt and do some cobra poses. That takes the “snakiness venom from body/mind.
Basically we fall into three categories or three types of personality.
“There is no creature on earth nor among the hosts in heaven who is free from these three qualities which arise from Nature.”
“The three great qualities called sattva, rajas, and tamas – light, or truth, passion or desire, and indifference or darkness – are born from Nature……………….Of these the sattva quality by reason of its lucidity and peacefulness entwineth the soul to rebirth through attachment to knowledge and that which is pleasant.
Know that rajas is of the nature of desire, producing thirst and propensity; …….consequences produced from action. The quality of tamas, the offspring of the indifference in Nature, is the deluder of all creatures, ………heedless folly, sleep, and idleness. The sattva quality attaches the soul through happiness and pleasure, the rajas through action, and tamas quality surrounding the power of judgment with indifference attaches the soul heedlessness.”
From William Judge’s translation of the Gita.
Yes we are all imbued with these qualities. But we have a much more of one than another If we are more Rajistic like Rae,we’re all eager, full of fire and approach yoga or meditation with a do or die attitude.
Or maybe for long we have been the sweet natured, follow our friends type of personality. And so we try something new,often it is in a very half-hearted way. And we tend to fall by the wayside. So when we meet something a little challenging it’s much easier to stay home and do what we are used to.
There is nothing wrong with any of these personality types, but it does help if we recognise our nature and that we understand taking on something new can be difficult, challenging and often uncomfortable, because we’re using muscles we have not used in a long time. Physical and mental muscle.
So I encourage you to find a way to pace yourself. For most people they join a class with a friend. If you have recognised that you are more the Sattwica personality that friend I suggest you join with, could be the fiery type, Rajas As they will not listen to the idea of going out for coffee instead of going to class. And and if you are the fiery type your need a good friend who has steady persistence, someone who will not let you burn out quickly.
Tip:I am suggesting whenever you take on something new or you find that you’re losing interest having a like-minded friend will help you until you recognise the benefits and then you will stay at it, stick at it and join the millions around the world who cannot imagine their day without meditation
Tip: Just as it is better to do your yoga postures when your muscles are warm. It is better to meditate when the mind is rested, it is not so active and filled with the days events. Early morning or evening.
Dawn rising renew your mind.
You can join my sister and I in our story, as we use the fire of Rajas to overcome the lethargy of Tamas and arrive at the sweetness of Sattwas.
Surya Namaska salute to the sun. This series of linked yoga poses that stretches all the muscles in your body, yes that’s why a Yogi in Puna designed this set, to move the body easily gracefully and elegantly through all the major muscles in the body. I loved the way the poses build, my yoga teacher Shanti Gowans was often adding some variations to the series. Here is my sketch of one variation.
Sketch of sun salute variation.
Initially you will find the yoga poses that honour the sun, (think of the millions of people all around the world honouring the sun, by yoga poses) warming your body, but eventually like my sister, you will learn the sun you honour is your inward sun or your mind. The force that heats you, and directs your life.