The machinery of the physical body has its own basic requirements for rest in order to function optimally. When one goes beyond the body’s capacity for effort at any point in time, and thereby becomes fatigued, a state of tamas tends to arise. This is inimical to maintaining the continuity of the yogic focus. There are however states of rest whereby the body can be refreshed and energized without the fall into a tamasic torpor or indolent state.

For example, the practice known as yoga nidra, the yogic sleep, is one such methodology used to refresh the body with a clear, calm and quiet state of peace, bringing awareness to the body and then letting it simply rest, without stress, without any rajasic pressure to ‘keep going’ beyond the body’s current capacity.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “Take care to rest enough. You must guard against fatigue as it may bring relaxation and tamas. To rest will is not tamas, as some people suppose; it can be done in the right consciousness to maintain the bodily energy — like the savasana of the strenuous hathayogin.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Disturbances of the Body and Physical Consciousness, Rest, Quiet, Goodwill, pp. 86-88

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at and podcast at He is author of 16 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.