In nature, everything has 2 aspects. If there is motion in an object then for sure, rigidity will be the part of its nature. The state of motionlessness, rigidity, and inertia is existed because of Tamo Guna in nature.
Tamas (Tamo Guna)
Tamo, having the root word “Tama” represents the “darkness” and Guna means the quality. Tamo Guna is one of the beginning qualities of nature from which everything has emerged.
In nature, it’s with the combination of the other two Gunas present as trigunas and forms the matter, inertia, and ‘static energy’ of objects. It’s commonly called Tamas and excess of Tamas Guna in a person is regarded as the tamasic nature personality.
By means of tamasic personality, it’s regarded to those Gunas (or qualities) of a person that attaches one to lack of care, recklessness, overthinking, and over-indulgence. However, Tamas Guna’s qualities take birth from negligence, delusion, and ignorance.
Though it can not be said that Tamas is the sign of negativity only.
Among 3 building blocks that constitute Manas (or mind), tamo guna combines with Rajas and Sattva Guna to help manifest everything in its gross or clear reality. The manifestation of nature which brings stability and a complete sense of relaxation for a while is also part of Tamo guna.
How to Identify the Dominance of Tamas
To recognize Tamas Guna, one needs to analyze thyself. Observe activities, reactions, thought processes in different situations, and times of the day and you will found when Tamas Guna is in dominance in your nature.
However, the following is the list of characteristics, that will be visible when you have dominant Tamas Guna.
1. Careless and Unbalanced
A tamasic person neither cares about himself nor anyone else. They don’t care what they are doing, how they are performing an action, or anything else. Consequently, they become unbalanced, whether in the case of routine or in case of work.
2. Lazy and Dull
Tamas Guna increases rigidity and inertia on a person. This makes them lazy and dull. Therefore, they always desire for sleep and rest. In the case of doing work, they become moody. Whether the work is very important or not, they will do it only when it is their mood to do it.
On the other hand, they always crave for sex. They are active only in the case of lustfulness or when their cravings fulfilled.
The dominance of Tamas Guna increase increases ignorance. Tamasic personality persons are not able to understand what is good and what is bad for them. In this state, the mind gets puzzled in taking decisions. Therefore, Tamsic people tend to be confused and puzzled.
4. Loneliness Loving and Disconnected
Increment in Tamas Guna increases the ego of a person. Tamasic people think themselves superior and deny the company of others. This makes them disconnected and lonely.
5. Full of Anger
The dominance of Tamas Guna brings out the dark side of the person. This causes high rage in a person and promotes evil action.
A person is ready to do anything destructive when he/she is angry. At that time, no one doesn’t really matter to them, and they can perform an evil act in this condition.
6. Irregular Diet
Tamasic people are fond of junk food. They like liquor or alcohol, eggs, red meat, and other dry, tasteless food. They don’t like homemade food much.
Note- Naturally, Tamas Guna, along with the other two Gunas (Rajas and Sattva), is present in all of us. All the characteristics are visible only when Tamas Guna is dominant.
Positive Aspects of Tamas Guna
Based on the above-described characteristics, it seems that there is no need for Tamas Guna in person. But, Tamas Guna is also essential in some aspects.
At some movement in life, we need a break from all the activities. We need some moments of silence with ourselves. Similarly, after the work of the day, we need to sleep to get relaxed, to recharge our body.
Tamas Guna is responsible for our sleep and rest. Without this Guna, one will be restless and unsettled.
2. Grounded and Stable
To perform Yoga, a person needs to be stable and grounded. Tamas Guna within you keeps you grounded and stable in a Yogic activity. Also, in the case of imbalanced root chakra, tamas guna is encouraged in the person.
It is an important element in the spiritual journey. Without Tamas Guna, a yogi can not move further in spirituality.
Types of Tamas
The Tamasic type of personality can be defined in 3 types [efn_note] Concept of personality in Ayurveda http://nopr.niscair.res.in/bitstream [/efn_note].
3 types of Tamas Guna are:
1. Pasava (Sharing Traits of Animal)
- Forbidding character.
- Lack of Intelligence.
- Excessive sexual desires.
- Excessive sleep and undisciplined.
2. Matsya (Sharing Traits of Fish)
- Cowardice and timid
- Lack of intelligence.
- Greediness for food.
- A desire for water.
- Constant anger.
3. Vanaspatya (Sharing Traits of Vegetable Life)
- Less intelligent.
- Always hungry and eats a lot.
- Group dependent.
How to Get Rid of Tamas Guna
In the beginning, there was nothing, nothing but the silence of infinite darkness. Then came the light!Book of Genesis
To escape from the darkness, one needs to put the effort that brings the light. Light represents motion and is the opposite of darkness (or Tamas Guna).
Implanting following yogic activities and lifestyle changes will help you reduce the excess of Tamas Guna and balance its proportions among 3 Gunas.
1. By Adding Vinyasa in Asana Practice
Yoga asanas are very invigorating that brings motion in the still body. However, Vinyasa adds a greater range of motion in asanas which removes rigidity and encourages activity.
Following asanas strategy will help in reducing Tamas Guna;
- Be in a pose for less period and add more Vinyasa flow in your practice. The Sun Salutation sequence also works well in case of increased Tamas Guna.
- Forward bending poses usually are relaxing as compare to backbend poses. Practice backbend poses like bow pose and bridge pose more if you feel laziness or dullness in the body.
- Minimize the time of relaxation in Shavasana or balasana in a yoga sequence.
2. By Regulating Breathe Through Pranayama
Pranayama vitalizes energy in the form of Prana (life force) in every cell of the body. After performing Pranayama, you will better aware of your actions, your thoughts, and eventually, that will reduce anger, which is a common characteristic of Tamas Guna’s dominance.
- Practice fast breathing exercises like Bhastrika and Kapalbhati Pranayama when Tamas guna dominant because of work tiredness.
- In case of anger, reduce tamas guna by doing balancing breathing techniques like anulom vilom pranayama.
3. Adopting Moving Meditation Techniques
Tamo Guna is a necessary quality one should have to come into the meditation but excess Tamas leads to accidental power-nap during meditation.
Adding meditation techniques that keep you engaged physically in motion can help in reducing the effect of Tamas Guna. Some examples of such meditation techniques are; Walking meditation [efn_note] Walking Meditation https://ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/walking_meditation [/efn_note], Moving meditation, and daily task meditation (getting chores done with mindfulness).
4. Avoid Oversleeping or Sitting for Long Hours
Proper sleep is very important for good health. But, when you sleep excessively, you become lazy and sluggish, resulting in an increment in Tamas Guna.
In the same way, sitting for long hours in the same place could also result in an increase in tamas Guna. So stretching spine in a break would help you to keep away that yawning at work.
5. Change Modes of Entertainment
Nowadays, in the name of entertainment, we spend a lot of time in front of the TV, laptop and video games. It decreases physical activity and increases laziness (Tamas guna).
So, rather than spending time in such non-physical activities, go for some sports or other physical activity. It will gradually decrease laziness as well as Tamas within you.
6. Change Your Diet
The food affects health, the way you behave, and is responsible for your energy level. So it’s called,
You are what you eat.
Tamasic food is also the cause of an increase in Tamas guna. It includes red meat, eggs, alcohol, and other offensive food items. However, any food that is overeaten, leftover, or stale also becomes tamasic.
These food products develop rage and tiredness within the person and decrease immunity. According to Ayurveda, the consumption of Tamasic food is said to not good for our physical as well as mental health.
Tamasic food drains the prana and fills us with the wrong vibes. So, avoid this food and go for some Sattvic food, that is not so spicy, natural and nutritious.
7. Go out in Nature
Nature is the source of energy and it heals everything. So, take a break from your daily work and spend some time in the lap of nature. Mother nature will heal your mental illness and reduce Tamas from your body.
A balanced proportion of all 3 Gunas is very important in order to have positive attitude and a good personality in life.
Tamas, however, is a trait of stability and groundedness but the excess of it can put the bad spots on your personality. With a little determination, you can work on your tamasic qualities and get rid of excess tamas Guna.
Beautifully explained. Me too reached a conclusion that I have sooo much tamas in head. Will try to follow your suggestions. But you said least in Savasana , is it true as I sleep in this Asan only.