I’m cozy in bed, snuggled up in my comforter, having a nice dream, ahh so comfy…then the alarm beeps. Just one snooze, I think. 9 minutes later, one more snooze. Raise your hand if this has happened to you.
Oh, here’s another one. I’m on the couch, watching trashy TV shows, but I should be doing something productive. Ugh, but being stuck on the couch is so much better.
This force, the force keeping you on the couch, keeping you snuggled up cozy in your bed is called tamas. It’s a Sanskrit word that I think probably means lazy slob.
The universe, our bodies, pretty much everything is made up of three forces, or gunas: tamas, rajas, and sattva. By truly understanding the different energies in the body (and around us), we have power to change them and counteract them. Here’s how…
Tamas is that slow, sludgy, and solid energy that helps you rest, relax, and stay put. When you’re in balance, this is the force that helps you fall asleep. Too much tamas, however, can lead to depression, lack of motivation, and generally feeling stuck. On the flip side, if you’re lacking in tamas, you’re likely to feel restless and unable to stop moving. (If that’s the case, read about ways to battle insomnia and get some rest.)
Rajas is energy that flows: think of movement and thought. Going for a run, writing, working, and movement are all happening thanks to rajas. Rajas also helps counteract tamas, so if you’re feeling lazy the best remedy is to move. When rajas is overflowing, it can lead to anger, agression, and violence.
Sattvic energy comes when you’re calm, relaxed, and at peace. Looking at a beautiful sunset, that post-yoga-class satisfied glow, the feeling you get when you’ve meditated. That is sattva.
But back to tamas. I’ve been battling tamas quite a bit as of late, likely the main reason for the lack of posts here on this blog. Just a couple of months ago, I was waking up at 5:30 to practice yoga, meditate, go for a run, and now I’ve turned into a snooze-master. 6:30 rolls around, snooze, 6:40, 6:50, you get the idea.
In winter tamas is at its highest – bears hibernate for a reason during this time. Luckily, Ayurveda has some ways to keep in balance and prevent tamas from taking over. So I’ll be taking my own advice to banish excess tamas and if you’re feeling the same, here are some easy ways to feel more motivated.
- Eating fresh food. Avoid stale junk food, heavy food (like cheese and meat), cold food, too much dairy as they all promote tamas. Eat a diet that’s light and easy to digest with steamed veggies, whole grains, fruit, nuts, and if you eat meat, opt for chicken and fish.
- Waking up before sunrise. In Ayurveda, the more you sleep during daylight hours, the more heaviness and tamas you bring your body. (Yes, I need to heed my own advice). Avoiding afternoon naps and too much sleeping in general.
- Daily activity. A walk, a run, yoga, getting movement every day and not sitting for too long.
- Purify. Reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption and other depressants.
- Hot water. Hot water helps digestion and reduces tamas sludge. (Want more reasons hot water works wonders?)
We’ll look more closely at rajas and sattva energies soon.
But in the meantime, tell me: How has tamas affected you and are these tips helpful? Let me know in the comments and be sure to share this post if it’s helpful.
Photo credit: SteveNakatani.
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