This fresh and insightful interpretation of a concept that comes from Yogic Philosophy and Ayurveda will offer you an incredibly intelligent and intuitive guide to living your life to its fullest capacity.
The word Guna comes from the word “strand.” Just like a rope is made of several strands there are three strands of life’s energy. That is to say, there are three main qualities of life.
Not knowing the Gunas is like going through life not knowing North, South, East and West. Eoin calls it an “energy map” that helps us master our energy in life.
There are so many energies we could feel, but the Gunas let’s us categorize them at the meta level so we can see the overarching patterns to how life interacts. Like you would file receipts in a file folder, the Gunas are like a filing system for energy.
Ayurveda—India’s ancient wisdom science of longevity—categorizes us as unique individuals, each stepping into life with our own physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual blueprint.
This blueprint, or prakriti in Sanskrit, arises from Ayurveda’s universal life-creating elements: earth, water, fire, air, and space. These elements combine to form specific bio-energies called doshas, existing within us as well as in the world at large. Earth and water create the heavy Kapha dosha, from fire and water emerges fiery Pitta, and from air and space we get light and excitable Vata.
It is our unique ratio of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha that gives us recognizable characteristics, traits, and quirks. For example, earthy Kapha people have bigger bones and tend toward calm solidity, athletic Pitta people exhibit competitiveness and passion, while Vata people tend toward thinner frames, as well as a quick, creative, scattered mind.
Our work in life, according to Ayurveda, is to understand our doshic blueprint so that we can choose activities, food, and a lifestyle that balance, rather than amplify, our doshas.
Understanding our doshas is also key to getting the most benefits from our yoga practice. If you’ve ever been to a yoga class and emerged feeling a little out of it—you may have felt irritable and over-heated; or perhaps too scattered and spacey, or too mellow and melancholy—it is possible that your yoga practice is not supporting your doshas.
Here is a short guide to poses that will help to balance your doshas for maximum health and happiness…