June 10, 2020

The gurvadi gunas are 10 sets of opposites understood in the ancient healing system of Ayurveda. These pairs are a way of seeing the world; everything we experience in life sits somewhere within these gurvadi gunas from the most gross to the most subtle.

To explain, here are some examples of the opposing forces:

1. Reminisce on the feeling in the air at dawn, just before the sun peaks over the horizon… now think about the energy in the early afternoon when everyone is awake, ‘doing’ life.
2. Imagine eating a bowl of freshly cooked basmati rice spiced with just a little ground coriander, cardamom and turmeric… now, using the mind, taste a mouthful of a ready-made spicy curry that has come from a packet and is eaten straight from the oven.
3. Sit in stillness and feel a wave of calm come over you… inevitably a thought enters (which is perfectly fine!) but now feel into the journey as you get caught up in the thought creating story after story in the mind.

Can you feel into the Sthula (gross) and Suksma (subtle)?

In yoga, we understand sthula sarira as the physical body; that which eats, breathes and moves. This is often the body that we spend most of our time invested in. In our society we value all that is in sthula sarira, for example exercising or pampering to make the outer layer look a certain way and also working to spend on more material items to associate with our physical being. Sthula sarira isn’t bad and it’s great to have the ability to take care of our gross, more obvious self.

Suksma sarira is the layers that are much finer and therefore more difficult to grasp, that’s because something that lays deeper than the physical cannot be acquired and kept by our side but takes constant focus to keep alight. The subtle body is composed of energy, the mind and the witness that lays behind it all. This is where we begin to tap into the bigger Self, recognising the deep connection that we all share.

Over the next couple of months, we will be delving into the understanding of sthula and suksma sarira in my restorative yoga classes held on a Wednesday evening 6:30-7:30pm. We begin with sthula sarira from the bottom up, aligning the level of increasing subtlety with the elements: earth, water, fire, air, ether. Although focusing more on a certain aspect, it’s inevitable that we see the dance of the two as relativity comes into play and we can gain awareness of the movement between these two realms of experience. To book onto restorative yoga at Heather Yoga online please click here