The 3 Gunas (qualities / attitudes) in yoga consist of Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic.
Sattvic – qualities such as goodness, pure, positive, etc.
Rajasic – qualities such as stimulating, driven, dynamic, etc.
Tamasic – qualities such as dull, inactive, lethargy, violent, ignorant, etc.
I will just share a reflection of how I draw connections of these to some experiences at certain stages of my life.
We have moments where we are generally positive about work, school and life in general (Sattvic). I feel positive about my work as a Primary School teacher. I relish the impact I have on the children under my charge and the opportunity for meaningful interactions on the most minute of details. Since completing my teacher training over 10 years ago, positive experiences at work influenced my decision to undertake leadership roles as a subject head for co-curricular activities in the school I was with with. While work load might have increased significantly in some areas, the fact that I was in a better position to impact students’ school experience beyond of academic platforms kept me going.
Later, I decided to take up appointment as a head of department of character education, which oversees the character education and non-academic programmes, leadership and holistic development of students within the school. With the increased responsibility, I had less personal time and it got to a stage where I began questioning my reasons for going to work daily. I saw less relevance in the meaning and nature of my daily activities at work which affected my time for quality interactions with my students. I felt my life had taken a really toxic turn (Tamasic) as it began affecting my sleep patterns, perceptions of life and generally positive demeanor.
As I arrived at a crossroad of my career, I made the decision to take a step back by relinquishing my appointment and to return to the ground as a Happy Ordinary PE teacher (HOPE). As part of my efforts to rejuvenate myself, I took a study break from work and embarked on a MSc in Exercise & Sport Studies programme. While upgrading myself in terms of professional knowledge, it served to renew my sense of purpose as an educator (Rajasic) at the same time.
The ups and downs I had experienced has brought about a better understanding that our individual lives consist of elements of each of these three qualities, with some more prominent than others at various point of our lives.
Aylwin Tan (200hr YTT, July 2017)