Tamas is one of the three Gunas — the main energetic components of the universe. Gunas constantly change and affect our surroundings, including energy, matter, and consciousness. Tamas represents darkness, inertia, and inactivity. In excess, tamas can create ignorance, delusion, and suffering. You can reduce and balance tamas guna by making simple changes in your yoga practice, meditation, diet, and lifestyle.
Most often, one guna dominates. But to live a healthy, happy, prosperous, and productive life, we need a balanced of all three. The amount of each guna a person requires depends on their environment, the type of work they do, their physical constitution, and their spiritual goals. People who do heavy physical work, yogis who need a more grounded yoga practice, or those who live in colder climates may benefit from a higher level of tamasic energies.
Too much tamas may lead to feelings of depression, sadness, grief, or loneliness. The feeling of tamas can make it difficult to let go. It is heavy and binding. This guna also conceals our true nature and strengthens the ego, making it hard to transcend into the higher state sattva guna.
Yoga practitioners can use a variety of tools to balance and reduce tamas. But don’t do it all at once. Make one or two small changes daily and note their effect after a few days. Observe which ideas you are most resistant to or strongly react to. They will likely have the greatest effect in shifting your focus away from tamas. You can experiment and make adjustments to your approach as needed.
Asana adjustments for reducing tamas
It is very beneficial to practice daily asana practice. However, you will need to practice more Vinyasa or sun salutation sequences. Backbends and balance poses are energizing. Reduce forward bends and shorten shavasana to reduce tamas guna.
Add pranayama to balance and power
To balance mild amounts of tamas, practice a href=”https://www.yogabasics.com/practice/nadi-sodhana-pranayama/”>nadi sodhana/a>. For moderate amounts of tamas, practice a href=”https://www.yogabasics.com/practic/kapalabhati-pranayama/”>kapalabhati For mild tamas balance, do nadi sadhana. For moderate amounts, do kapalabhati. And for high amounts, use (with caution) bhastrika.
Meditation and movement are linked
The stillness in a seated Meditation may increase tamas. Reduce your meditation time, or try more active meditation. Try walking meditation, dynamic mediation, and chanting/kirtan for balancing tamas guna.
Lifestyle tweaks for Tamas
Increase your physical and mental activities instead of oversleeping. Get up earlier, go outside, find adventure, and surround yourself with stimulating environments. Avoid TV, inactivity, and situations that are frightful. Find a brightly lit and dry place, and be surrounded by good people.
Reduce tamas in your diet by changing your diet
The most effective way to balance tamas guna is by adjusting your diet. Avoid overeating, and eat as much fresh produce as you can. Avoid foods like simple carbohydrates, fats, and root vegetables that can make you feel bloated. Avoid foods that are hard to digest, fermented and preserved, spoiled, or chemically treated. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and other stimulants, as well as drugs.
It is important not to move too far into rajas when moving away from tamas. When you begin to feel the effects of tamas guna are lessened, your focus should shift towards cultivating sattva guna. It may require a lot of willpower to break free from the dark, heavy, and stagnant tamas guna. However, it will pay off with a happier, healthier, prosperous, and more productive life.