Gunas Deep Dive: How Balancing Rajas Can Combat Restlessness, Impulsiveness and Anxiety
The three Ayurvedic gunas are the basic life forces of nature that permeate our constitution and the world around us. They represent energies that are constantly in flux, and while maximizing Sattva (representing harmony) is the ultimate ideal for attaining balance, an excess of Rajas (representing motion) and Tamas (representing inertia) can have negative effects upon our physical and mental well-being. Understanding the gunas and how they manifest in the world is an important part of Ayurvedic and yogic practice, enabling one to effectively respond to their imbalances and ailments and to maximize positivity, harmony and tranquility in their life.
In this blog, we unpack the basics of the Rajas guna, discussing the symptoms of Rajas imbalance and strategies for alleviating excess Rajas and promoting overall harmony.
An Introduction to Rajas
Rajas is ruled by motion, energy, activity and passion. When manifested in nature, Rajas drives the flowering of plants and the proliferation of life; it drives growth, change and development. Given that it is characterized by energy and movement, Rajas tends to dominate during exercises like yoga.
When in balance, Rajas can motivate us to work hard in order to achieve your goals and ambitions. Whether we’re taking on new projects at work or building new relationships, Rajas empowers us to approach our experiences with energy, enthusiasm and confidence.
Signs of a Rajas Imbalance
When out of balance, the productive, motivational energy of Rajas can transmute into obsessiveness, anxiety and chaos. When your workload becomes overwhelming, for example, or when you experience conflict or agitation in your relationships, Rajas can dominate and manifest in feelings of stress, irritation, frustration and restlessness.
An excess of Rajas can also cause productive attachment to become obsessive, leading to unhealthy emotional investment. Furthermore, it can manifest in impulsive habits, like binge eating or overspending. It can also cause general mental distraction, making it difficult to focus and think clearly.
How to Bring Rajas into Balance
Regulate your consumption of rajasic foods
If you’re experiencing symptoms of a Rajas imbalance, one of the reasons may be that you’re consuming too much rajasic food. Rajasic foods tend to be heavy, and they include meat, fish, eggs and spices. Try to cut back on spicy foods, fried or oily foods, meat, sugar and caffeine. Instead, focus on eating a balanced diet that incorporates plenty of green vegetables. It will also help to eat slowly and deliberately, giving yourself plenty of time to digest.
Meditation is a powerful practice that can combat the restlessness, impulsiveness, and obsessiveness that characterize a Rajas imbalance by increasing focus, groundedness and mindfulness. Meditation also promotes mental clarity, memory and concentration. If you don’t have much experience with meditating, try starting out by taking 20 minutes each morning to sit in silence and focus on your breathing. You can also check out our past blogs on meditation, such as this simple Kundalini meditation exercise and a breakdown of how to meditate according to your dosha.
Get the right amount of sleep
While too much sleep leads to feelings of sluggishness and haziness (and is thus characteristic of a Tamas imbalance), too little sleep can lead to irritation, frustration and a lack of focus. It’s important to get 7-9 hours of sleep to feel adequately rested and to bring the positive, energizing aspects of Rajas to the fore.
Everyone has their own personal relationship to sleep, and different doshas have different sleep tendencies; to learn how to get better sleep according to your dosha, check out our blog here. You can also try out our Pure Rest Wellness Incense and Pure Rest Wellness Oil to combat insomnia and promote tranquility and calm.
Cut out distracting stimuli
Rajas becomes amplified through distracting, excitement-inducing stimuli, including violent or fast-paced shows and movies, coffee, alcohol, loud noise and other forms of sensory overload. To combat a Rajas imbalance, it’s best to cut out media that is overly violent, to reduce the amount of alcohol and caffeine you consume, to consciously place yourself in soothing environments and to take time to slow down, meditate and reflect.
Through trying out some of these strategies, you can combat the negative effects of Rajas, instead channeling Rajas in a positive way toward achieving your goals and ambitions with energy, passion and enthusiasm.