A vasana is a habit or tendency that has developed over time. The thoughts we think, actions we take, and how our lives unfold are largely driven by our vasanas. The person’s challenge is to develop helpful vasanas (uplifting socializing, healthy eating, positive hobbies) and reduce the pull of unhelpful tendencies. Children can be taught these principles and in that way at least start to notice how they behave and the effects on their lives.
One of my sons has a very strong vasana for sweet things, and will always gravitate to sugary treats or even the sweetest fruit. Over the years I’ve encouraged him to notice the after-effects of what he eats – does he feel clear headed and more energetic or does he feel sluggish and tired. What about hyperactive and rajasic? In this way he now makes more healthy choices, and when he decides on a sugary treat he does it deliberately, fully ready to experience the after-effects.
Here I’m teaching him to ‘surf the vasana’ and ride it out…. slowly over a few years as he takes more cognizance of the effects of the food he eats, the pull of the sugar wave will dissipate, and he will be left with healthy food tendencies.
We talk about what a vasana is, and that he specifically has a vasana for sugary food, and how that might affect how he chooses to eat as he grows up. In this case we deliberately link it to his father’s vasana for sugary food and the effect it has on his body and life (diabetes). Notice I’m not forcing him to comply or introducing rigid rules, just bringing to his awareness the effects of his in-build tendencies.