Sattva: The Optimal Blueprint in Asana and Life
The Truth and Higher Intelligence that underlines everything
As we know Anusara Yoga’s philosophy seeks and recognises Consciousness (attitude) in all levels of being. The practice applied to everyday life leads us to look first for the innate goodness at the heart of every situation and in our own hearts too. Once we find it, we align (alignment) it with our core values and it becomes our pillar of strength, clear vision and understanding of the world. Then, eventually, we can take appropriate actions (action) and respond to daily situations in a state of present-moment awareness ( sattva).
The concept of the 3 A’s as described above OR in three words: attitude – alignment – action / iccha – jnana- kriya / sat – chit – ananda/mind -body – heart, is coming from the tattvas as the invocation of Anusara yoga as well.
The concept of the 3 A’s as described above OR in three words: attitude – alignment – action / iccha – jnana- kriya / sat – chit – ananda/mind -body – heart, is coming from the tattvas as the invocation of Anusara yoga as well. The practice of the 3 A’s itself, the UPA’s and the seven loops applied in balanced action for every unique person and situation according to time and space, leads us to the cultivation of what we call “ Optimal Blueprint “.
Sounds complicated but it’s not in reality. The purpose of the teachings is to simplify and bring everything down to the earth in order for them to be experienced and used in our lives as practice and not only theory.
Optimal Blueprint in the Body
Optimal Blueprint is the master design of the Body’s potential for optimal alignment and health. The Optimal Blueprint represents the ideal spatial pattern in any position, and it fosters a relationship of highest harmony between the bones and the connective tissue. Whenever you move toward the Optimal Blueprint, the nervous system will feel safe, the muscles and the fascia will relax, and the body will let the tension go. The alignment of the body is like the alignment of antennae! Adjusting the antennae has a direct effect on the quality of the signal received. One position creates music, while another creates bugs in the signal.
We all want the same thing …to enjoy the music and dance! We are all unique and different on an individual level. What is the optimal for one person, for another it may be the quite opposite. That’s why it is important to remember that our Optimal Blueprint is actually something to be revealed instead of something outside of us which we need to reach or acquire.
It is an always present unique potential encoded in our being as a map of bliss and transformation. The chrysalis always knows how to become a butterfly. How? …it is her nature!
Yoga is a calling for a revelation of our true nature. It is a welcoming of what is already here.…yet, maybe not seen clearly enough or still not recognized as it is.
“Everything is an expansion of consciousness”
~ Kshemeraja, 9th century
The 3 Gunas: Sattva, Rajas and Tamas
Prakrti consists of the perfect balance of the three gunas:
- Sattva – lucidity, lightness, balance, purity, peace, clarity ( consciousness element)
- Rajas – energy, passion, expansion, heating, acceleration, upward, activating, stimulating, dynamism ( fire & earth element )
- Tamas – darkness, heaviness, inertia, condensate, downward, cooling ( earth & water)
Knowing all these we still seek answers to the human dilemma …What is balance? What is optimal? What is Dharmic? In Ayurveda and Yoga, they say: Whatever enhances and affirms life in any particular circumstance of time and space.
“A well-lived day is medicine unto itself.”
Every individual has their own specific type of energy, a unique combination of physical and mental characteristics which is known as constitutions. How these energies are balanced in a person’s natural constitution is described as their Prakruti and this indicates good health. Imbalanced energies are known as a person’s Vikruti and can indicate a predisposition to disease. In Ayurveda, the goal is to maintain and strengthen Prakruti, and re-balance Vikruti.
Every form of treatment in Ayurveda is trying to increase Sattva energy. All beings understand and communicate through energy … The Mother is holding her baby and whispers: I love you! The baby doesn’t understand language, it smiles because it understands energy/vibration. Sattva is the highest vibration.
Here I’ll take the liberty to share material from the Ayurvedic seminar I attended with Dr. Nikolaos Kostopoulos and Vaidya Asvin Barot in Athens.
Behaviour Patterns & the 3 Gunas
1 Sattva: vmPFC (ventromedial prefrontal cortex), amygdala, right + left brain balance
- Reality, We, everything
- I see things as they are
- We all can
2 Rajas: Amygdala is dominant compared vmPFC
- Mostly me
- I see things a little bit my way
- I can
3 Tamas: Instinctive behaviour, only Amygdala
- Only me
- I see things totally my own way
If we are in the forest, trying to exit our cave in order to find food and there is a lion in front of us, many of these may be useful of course. But if we are trying to heal and live a happy and harmonious life the concept of Sattva will create exactly the conditions needed for that.
Here I add a link to the really interesting video of Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor’s 90 seconds Rule for Whole Brain Living which is related to the topic of our brain function:
Sattva enhances the Optimal Blueprint of the mind, while proper Yoga reveals the Optimal Blueprint of the Body.
After being diagnosed with severe Rheumatoid Arthritis back in 2009, I felt that my life was collapsing in pain I was a dancer and my body was telling me to stop and reorganize my life in terms of what was my personal truth. The word Sattva comes from the root SAT (Sanskrit), which means truth.
My healing journey started slowly when I was introduced to Anusara Yoga and immersed in it by BJ Galvan or Benita Wolfe and many other beloved teachers from the same lineage. As I gained strength, I started learning literally how to walk on Earth with a new outlook and values. I am open to the possibility that this is not the end. I began to passionately study absolutely everything which was connected to the word HEALING … Yoga, Psychology, Ayurveda …myself!. I was also blessed to meet Dr. Kostopoulos and Vaidya Asvin Barot, my Ayurvedic Teachers from Greece and India.
During all these 15 years I followed the path of the Chrissalys, a part of me always knew that this was only the beginning. Practice, practice and all is coming…is not a reference only in Asana, but also about how we do the same in life’s ups and downs.
The idea of Sattvic being and inter-being, understood from the Tantric perspective has brought me today to living my happiest life, free of pain, and most of all free to be my unique and authentic self in its best creative version till now. I changed everything needed to change, till I came to my SAT or inner truth.
Still a way to go …
Here is a short and complete practice to align to your Sattvic being. It has an Asana, Chanting, Pranayama, Meditation sections and finally Savasana
- Asana – Sun Salutation and short sequence based on balanced action
- Chanting – Mantra Practice :
“May all be happy, May all be free from illness,
May all see what is auspicious, May no one suffer.”
Om Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah Sarve Santu Niraamayaah
Sarve Bhadraanni Pashyantu Maa
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih
- Pranayama – Kapalabhati and Nadi Shodhana
This pranayama is a wonderful breathing technique that involves powerful rapid exhalations followed by short and passive inhalations. The following inhale is an automatic response from the lungs being empty. This technique of forced exhalation helps to reduce stress, boost brain function, and improve respiratory health. It also strengthens the abdominal muscles and improves digestion.
This type of pranayama is one of the most practised because of its soothing effects on the brain. Popularly known as a form of alternate nostril breathing, it’s a slow and deep yoga breathing exercise. In this pranayama, we close our nostrils alternatively in a way that balances the left and right brain hemispheres. It also calms the nervous system
- Meditation – sitting still and quiet, letting be.
- Savasana – grounding the energies
A great thank you to all my Teachers and to everyone who reached the end of my article. It was a great honour for me to share the great good that Anusara Yoga has done for me.
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