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Take this quiz and find out what quality of life you are leading right now.
1. Your meals mostly contain
A. Freshly prepared food which is gently spiced.
B. Food which has a strong flavor such as extremely sweet, salty, hot food. Examples: vinegar, pickle.
C. Food kept overnight in the fridge, pungent food, pizzas, burgers, sodas and fast food.
D. None of the above.
2. Your parents or boss give you a task to complete
A. You work on the task joyfully. Even if you do not achieve the expected result, you do not lose your enthusiasm and continue to work towards your goal.
B. You get either extremely excited or extremely upset about the task. You get upset and lose interest if you do not achieve your goal.
C. You work on the task even though you find the task quite disgusting. "Oh! I shouldn't be doing this" goes on in your mind all the time.
D. None of the above.
3. How much time does it take for you to complete your task?
A. I happily work on my to-do list and complete it in the stipulated time.
B. I have so many ideas so I take some time to complete the task.
C. I like to enjoy things and do it at my own pace.
D. None of the above.
4. Some people greet you, "Hello! How are you?" Your response?
A. You return the greeting politely.
B. You wonder what they want and why they are being so sweet to you.
C. You think, "How arrogant! They know too well I am miserable still they are asking me how I am doing!"
D. None of the above.
There are three gunas or qualities that affect your day-to-day life: sattva, rajas and tamas. Explaining how they affect the quality of our life, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says in Patanjali Yoga Sutras, “Three gunas come into our life in cycles. When sattva comes, there is balance, alertness, knowledge, interest, lightness and joy in everything. When Rajo-guna comes, more desires, selfishness, restlessness and sadness arise in us. When Tamo-guna comes, delusion, attachment, lack of knowledge, lethargy, all this comes. These three come in life, turn by turn.” Though all three qualities come in turns, we can keep our levels of sattva high with the help of yoga and enjoy the benefits of a higher quality of life.
Let's see what is the current quality of your life.
You have clear and logical thinking, sharp intelligence, good health, freshness and lightness in the body. When sattva dominates our environment and body, we feel light, happy, pleasant, joyful, alert, focused, creative, helpful and energetic. There is happiness and peace. You tend to acquire healthier habits. You prefer food which is healthier. You are quick in responding to a situation and efficient at your work. You desire to meditate more.
“The more sattva or purity rises in your life, the more easily your tasks get accomplished. If you put in a lot of effort and the result turns out to be less or below your expectations, it means that there is a lack of sattva or purity in life.”- Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
The dominating quality in your life is rajas or rajo guna. You have lots of thoughts, are restless, there are too many desires and too many things to be done. You swing between being very happy or extremely sad. Take a break, meditate.
Tamo guna is dominating in your life. Rajas and tamas are responsible for activity and rest at our mind and body levels, respectively. We cannot ‘act’ without a certain level of rajas and cannot have ‘sleep’ without a certain level of tamas. They have their own place in our lives and are healthy when in balance. However, when tamas dominates, it can bring delusion, wrong understanding, and dullness.
How to upgrade the quality of your life with yoga?
During the time spent thinking about the past, worrying about the future, or day dreaming, there is very little sattva in life. Yoga practices, such as meditation, yoga retreats (preferably every six months), being in silence, pranayama, meditation, satsang, and listening to knowledge raise the sattva.
Yoga poses: Yoga postures can settle down the restlessness (rajas) in the body and mind. Pranayamas or breathing exercises oxygenate every cell in our body and bring purity (sattva) and balance.
Meditation: The more we meditate, the more our sattva grows and the more sattva we have, the deeper is our meditation. Suppose a family member is being very short tempered or stressful. Tamas brings heaviness and lethargy. Through yoga and meditation, you could help to reduce the high tamas and increase sattva.
Food: This is a delicious and critical aspect. Fresh food, fruits, vegetables, juices, and less spicy food bring sattva. Also, eat only as much as is essential so that food is well digested. If you don't feel too heavy when you go to bed or wake up, then you are eating the right amount of proper food. Sattvic food items are easy to digest; they do not bring any heaviness or dullness. Food having excess of sugar, oil or spices brings rajas. Non-vegetarian food or something that has too much onion and garlic is tamasic.
If your child is being lethargic at school or home and is not able to concentrate properly, try to observe which guna is creating the imbalance. If the child is snacking too much on chips, biscuits and colas, you know what to do to balance the gunas.
Ensure that your sattva level is high when you are going to discuss an important deal or doing something very important.
Enjoy the game of the three gunas! With yoga techniques you can ensure that you always emerge the winner.