Gunas Gracious

then you eat tamasic food (such as processed or preserved food or alcohol), you could achieve an uneasy balance, like two kids standing on either side of the teeter-totter. The slightest shift, and both kids will topple.

But what if the two kids sit right over the teeter-totter's fulcrum? They'll be pretty stable, and that is what sattvic food—such as fresh, organic fruits, vegetables, and grains in or close to their natural state (and other sattvic influences like a regular schedule, plenty of sleep, and a steady routine)—does for your body. It balances you in a stable way. Your health will be much less likely to topple. You'll find the state of samyama much more accessible.

Achieve a sattvic balance for good yoga nutrition.

Samyama is what yogis strive for. It means holding your consciousness together through concentration, meditation, and contemplation in an attempt to understand everything about the object of your investigation, whether that is poetry, the study of medicine, or the study of yoga postures. Samyama is the final state that results from the active process of learning. In other words, it is total absorption in your activity, and in your life itself.

On the other hand, duhkha is what often leads us astray. Duhkha is a feeling of discomfort or pain, suffering, sickness, or simply mental limitation. It is that deep-down feeling that something is wrong or out of place. Duhkha keeps you from achieving samyama. It makes you feel like you don't have the ability or are somehow inadequate—not healthy enough or strong enough or smart enough. Duhkha can arise out of excessive desire for something—even for enlightenment! It can be likened to a mental "virus" that infects your attitude and progress. Duhkha is like balancing

TAMV

TAMV

on the end of the teeter-totter. You may be level at the moment, but it doesn't feel very good or secure. You are in fear of falling.

Samyama (pronounced SAHM-YAH-mah) is a state that exists when concentration, meditation, and contemplation are all producing a perfectly balanced, concentrated meditational state. Sam means "together," and yama means "discipline." Duhkha (DOO-kah) is pain, suffering, trouble, and discomfort. From dur, which means "bad," and kha, which means "axle hole" or "space" (hence, being in a bad space), duhkha is a mental state during which limitations and a profound sense of "wrongness" are perceived. Duhkha holds us back from self-actualization.

Know Your Sanskrit

Samyama (pronounced SAHM-YAH-mah) is a state that exists when concentration, meditation, and contemplation are all producing a perfectly balanced, concentrated meditational state. Sam means "together," and yama means "discipline." Duhkha (DOO-kah) is pain, suffering, trouble, and discomfort. From dur, which means "bad," and kha, which means "axle hole" or "space" (hence, being in a bad space), duhkha is a mental state during which limitations and a profound sense of "wrongness" are perceived. Duhkha holds us back from self-actualization.

So how are samyama and duhkha related to the three gunas? Too many rajasic and/or tamasic foods produce duhkha, that's how! Balance is maintained with sattvic foods, and in fact, yoga itself can be seen as a process of "sattvification." It helps keep you duhkha-free.

So we know we want to maintain a sattvic state of mind as often as possible. What better way than to eat a sattvic diet? Since feeding the body is akin to feeding the mind, sattvic food will encourage a sattvic mental state once we are balanced. However, sattvic foods won't necessarily be able to balance someone who is naturally very rajasic or tamasic. For instance, a very tamasic person, one who has very little energy and leads a sedentary life, may find that a little rajasic food like coffee or a nice hot salsa can help restore a balance. Then sattvic food makes a great "maintenance diet." A swinging pendulum isn't easy to stop. The way it best comes to rest is by a slow change in the intensity of its swing.

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