One of the great pleasures I have had teaching yoga over the years has been witnessing the profound emotional transformation of my students. They come in restless, depressed and exhausted.
As they practice yoga, they have more energy , but the energy they express becomes calmer and happier. They begin to have a profound beneficial effect on everyone around them. One of my favorite personal sayings: “If yoga can’t heal you, you’re really in trouble.”
If you are new to yoga, you can begin to heal your emotions by feeling what you are doing while you are doing it. Most of us have no clue as to the full extent of psychological tension stored in our physiology.
Rather than forcing yourself to carry on no matter what—a characteristically American trait of overdoing it regardless of the personal expense—tune in and move in harmony with your inner feelings. This is how I teach my classes, so that the practice is always psychologically therapeutic as well as physically strengthening and lengthening. In yoga, consciousness itself is called Sattva.
You will not be able to perceive anything accurately unless your mind is calm and clear in this Sattvic state. Rajas and Tamas are two qualities of the mind that cause mental disharmony, agitation and delusion. Rajas causes us to seek happiness outside ourselves. Getting and spending, we lose track of our inner peace. Rajas creates greed, desire, distortion, turbulence and emotional upset.
This relentless external quest eventually leads to Tamas, which is exhaustion, depression and stagnation. Through the practice of releasing physical tension, we begin to remove deep-seated psychological tensions. We also learn that the source of happiness is not outside ourselves—not in the endless Rajasic quest for more and more.
When we are in touch with our true Sattvic nature, we don’t condemn our Rajasic or our Tamasic qualities—we understand these aspects of ourselves. As we become more Sattvic, we are not just physically flexible but also mentally and emotionally adaptable, no matter where we are. By quieting our minds, we paradoxically become wiser. We think less and know more. Rather than being the victim of the endless tide of our emotions, we witness the ebb and flow. We exude tranquility.
Brain Gym I: Jan. 24-25
Join us Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 24-25 for Brain Gym I. What you will learn: 26 simple movements that integrate the brain A five-step process that will help you achieve any goal more easily How to overcome anxiety and depression with Brain Gym How to get your brain to work at optimal capacity
Where:1951 Northside Drive
When: Saturday and Sunday, 9– 5 p.m.
Catherine Carrigan, a long-time Brain Gym consultant and specialized kinesiologist. Catherine is the author of Healing Depression: A Holistic Guide (New York: Marlowe and Co., 1999). For years, she has helped others improve their brain performance.
Who should come:
Parents who want to help their children do better in school.
Anyone who wants to overcome anxiety and depression without drugs.
Athletes who want to achieve peak performance.
Businessmen who want to sell more effectively, communicate more easily and relieve stress on the job.
The Three Gunas
You CAN Control Your Mind
Many people believe their mind is like a wild horse that can never be tamed. The first step in controlling your mind is to observe it. There are three Gunas. You are in a SATTVIC state when you feel harmonious, balanced and emotionally stable. Your nervous system is balanced. For many people, this state only happens by accident, because they have no regular practice to make the Sattvic state their usual mode of being. You are in a RAJASIC state when you feel turbulent, passionately seeking your goals in life. Rajas itself is not necessarily a problem—it is the forcefulness of this passion that causes problems, especially when it is not balanced with rest and relaxation. The Rajasic state corresponds to the sympathetic nervous system. You are in a TAMASIC state when you feel dull, exhausted or depressed. It is a heavy feeling inside. Tamas causes us to delude ourselves. Often, Tamasic people do not even know what is really bothering them. They frequently think that their misery has no solution. The Tamasic state corresponds to the parasympathetic nervous system. The Three Stages of Emotional Healing
Move out of Tamas by becoming more Rajasic. You can accomplish this through moderate daily exercise, focusing on the goals in your life and reconnecting with your passion. A person in a true Tamasic state is already in a state of inertia. Rather than meditating, he needs to move.
Calm Rajas. Transform your self-serving attitudes towards selfless service. A person in a Rajasic state would do well by slowing down his whirl of incessant activity.
Perfect Sattva. This is best accomplished through daily meditation. It is often helpful to move through the first two steps—rousing Tamas and then calming Rajas, balancing the nervous system—before attempting to meditate. A great way to do both steps at one time is by practicing yoga, which releases physical tension, moves the body and calms the mind, making it easier for the intellect to slip into silence.
Ongoing Total Fitness Classes
Yoga, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7:30-9 p.m. Holy Spirit Catholic Church, 4465 Northside Drive. $15 per class or $65 per calendar month. Qi Gong, Wednesdays, 5:30-6:30, 1951 Northside Drive. $15 per class. Weight Loss Class: Free. Monday, Jan. 26, 7 p.m., Holy Spirit. Overcoming Eating Disorders: Free class, every Wednesday at 7 p.m. in February, Holy Spirit.
Yoga Class Field Trip: Fun! Join us on Friday, Feb. 13th, to listen to yoga student Tom Olsen. Tom plays piano at Basil’s in Buckhead. To make a reservation, call Basil’s at 404-233-9755 and tell them you are joining the yoga class field trip at 7:30 p.m. on Friday the 13th. Basil’s is located at 2985 Grandview Avenue near Pharr Road.
For more information about personal fitness training, yoga, Qi Gong or our complete list of services, please visit www.totalfitness.net or call us at 404-350-8581.