The nine rasas (flavors), wheel is a self-help tool that describes the feeling, taste, and hue of all of our experiences. Rather than flavor as just something the tongue and palate process, in yoga theory, our entire being is in the midst of savoring (or repugning), all the time. To me, this explains nicely the relatedness between the inner and outer worlds. Thanks to the incredible workings of our nervous system, we process information all day long and feel (or taste), each bit we take in. Think of the response your heart rate has to the feeling of deep love, how your skin seems to soften when in the arms of your beloved, and the way the world is brighter upon just thinking of the things that cultivate feelings of love in your heart. And conversely, what a full spectrum experience it can be to sit in deep fear with a racing heart, skin sweating bullets, eyes pinpointed to track and discern a pending threat. We are whole beings and the nine rasas speak to this healing.
Shanta = peace, Sringara = love, Hasya = joy, Karuna = compassion, Raudra = anger, Vira = courage, Bhayanaka = fear, Vibhatsa = disgust, and Adhuta = wonder. Going around the circle, each flavor begets the next. See if you can track the development by creating a story: from the peace that meditation brings, I experience love for myself and others. Love makes me joyful, and softens the edges of my being to be able to see what suffering is happening around the world, which feeds compassion. Recognizing how dire things actually are for so many people, I am angry at the injustice, muster courage, and begin to act. In the face of my work, fear rises its ugly head in challenge, and I taste disgust for the level of corruption in the world, which ultimately leads me back to the heart, to sit in surrender and contemplate paths of less violence and more wonder for what is, in fact, good. It’s a crude sketch, but it’s a start. Create your own wheel, I promise it will be an interesting exercise in untangling your process, if nothing else. Across the wheel lies the perfect foil to each sensation, for example: the cure for disgust is to cultivate joy (make light of it), and compassion (everybody poops). Cool, huh?
Love and wonder, Suki