In Chapter 17, Krishna repeats his teaching of the gunas. He then explains OM TAT SAT to us: ‘OM TAT SAT: these three words designate Brahman, by whom the seers, the Vedas and the sacrificial rites were created in ancient times. Therefore OM is always uttered by the devotees of Brahman, as the scriptures direct, before undertaking any act of sacrifice, almsgiving or austerity. TAT, meaning the Absolute, is uttered by seekers after liberation who desire no reward for their deed, when they are about to make sacrifice, austerity or give alms, or practise some austerity. SAT means goodness, and existence. It also means an auspicious act. All perseverance in sacrifice, austerity or almsgiving is SAT. ‘
Interesting to contemplate the way folk have reacted to being told that we must follow a policy of austerity, in order to put our country’s finances in order. In this quote from the Gita, austerity is seen as a virtue and a self-discipline. Using measures of austerity will ensure that the country rebalances, and that the vulnerable will be sheltered and protected.
The heart chakra, ANAHATA, balances the other wheels of energy. It is in the centre, balancing out the three lower chakras which are concerned with our life in a physical body on this earth, and the three higher chakras which are concerned with our higher intelligence, our spirituality, and our connection to Spirit World. Anahata means unstruck sound, and it is connected to the element of air. Its colour is green (sometimes rose pink) and its seed sound is YAM.
The heart chakra is all about unconditional love. That is love without judgement towards all people, all creatures, all beings and, of course, ourselves. Taking a walk in nature is a great way of surrounding yourself with the green ray. Having an emerald green cushion behind you works really well, or a green candle beside you. Eating green fruit and vegetables brings in the green colour, too, which will stimulate the heart chakra. Try green apples, green peppers, gooseberries, cabbage, spinach and spring onions. There are so many green vegetables! Is nature trying to reconnect us to our hearts? To encourage us to be more heart-centred? To be big-hearted? Respect nature by buying natural, organic foods…
On this ‘Yoga Prescribed’ blog, we have had a romp through a variety of foods which have medicinal value. Yoga teaches us to be aware; to listen to our bodies. The more in touch with the body that we become, the more we are able to read the signals. I develop a headache in a specific place if there is not enough oxygen in the room. I develop a headache in a different place if I am dehydrated. In both cases, the headaches disappear immediately once I have fixed the problem. Listen to your body.
Including a variety of foods in the diet will take care of your nutritional needs. Eat a rainbow of vegetables. If you are drawn to a certain fruit or vegetable, eat it. Your body is telling you what it needs at this moment. For instance, you might find that you are fancying carrots and oranges. Yes, you might need betacarotene and vitamin C, but on a more subtle level your sacral chakra could be out of balance. You might need more of the colour orange in your life. Listen to your body.
Always remember that the way you eat matters, too. Yoga teaches us about the three gunas. These are qualities or constituents of nature. Eating in a rush is rajasic. When you are busy, busy, busy, it is not an appropriate time to eat. Eating because you’re bored and indolent is tamasic. You’re feeding your emotions, not your body. However,eating when you are calm and balanced is sattvik. You have time to consider your food and what your body needs. You eat slowly and with appreciation. Listen to your energies…Listen to your body.
‘Food is medicine’ is an ancient Chinese proverb, and it is still so true today.
The manner of eating matters, too! Sattvik energy is pure and is in balance. If we eat calmly, and indeed prepare food lovingly, it enhances our well-being. Eating on the go, being rajasic, is never going to truly nourish us!