Day 18: The Gunas
10 Tips for Living a more Sattvic Life
Living in Balance: The Gunas
Finding and maintaing Balance is key to Yoga.
There are many reasons people come to Yoga: Some people come to Yoga to build more strength, some people come for more flexibility and some for more balance clarity and calmness. We are ever-fluctuating beings, and Yoga is a kind of adaptogen that has the capacity to really meet us where we are at in any given moment to give us what we need.
In Yoga philosophy, all matter arises from the fundamental substance of the universe, called Prakriti. From Prakriti come the three primary gunas (qualities) that create the essential aspects of all nature—energy, matter and consciousness.
These three gunas are tamas (darkness), rajas (activity), and sattva (beingness).
All three gunas are always present in all beings, fluctuating and varying in their relative amounts, and the balance of the three Guna’s is vital for our health and our happiness.
We want to be tamasically grounded to the earth so that we can rest and sleep and connect, rajasically passionate and fired-up about our work and what we do, and sattvically calm and at peace to realise our goal of freedom, of our true nature.
Humans have the unique opportunity to consciously alter the levels of the gunas in our bodies and minds, through our interaction with external objects, lifestyle and thought patterns.
Essentially, through our practice of Yoga, and finding more balance, we want to cultivate as much Sattva, as possible.
Our basic nature is Sattva – clear, calm, creative, positive, creative force, with just enough Rajas – dynamic force and Tamas – negative force, to make things happen.
Sattva – Light & Purity, Equilibrium, knowledge, (associated with creation) is state of balance and harmony, peace, tranquility, sattva is the naturally arising state originating from being true to your inner teacher, guru, god. By purifying body, senses, and mind, the yogi can experience natural self.
Rajas – Activity, Passion, Action (associated with preservation) – When we identify ourselves with actions, with the roles we play in life, with praise received from others, we are in a rajasic state when the mind is identified with the concepts of karma, that which we sow and what which we reap.
Tamas – Darkness, Inertia, Lethargy, Ignorance (associated with destruction) – Darkness, ignorance, lazy nature of the mind or body, a force that tells us to take a break and relax when we are near to completing a project whose deadline is approaching – as a result we do not finish the race.
10 Tips for living a more Sattvic Lifestyle:
To experience being established in health and in oneself, we need to follow a sattvic lifestyle with a deep connection to our lifestyle, diet, physical & mental exercise.
- Eat foods that are organic, fresh, in season, vegetarian, locally produced. According to yogic philosophy, the mind is formed of the essence of food. If food eaten is pure then it brings inner peace to the body in and encourages spiritual progress.
2. Live in harmony with the rhythms of the day and seasons. Regulate your daily events, eating at similar times each day and sleeping at regular times to ensure that you have enough sleep 6 – 8 hours usually. “There is no possibility of one to become a yogi… if one eats too much, or eats too little, sleeps too much or does not sleep enough” – Bhagavad Gita
3. Meditate/ pray as first and last events of the day
4. Sleep early, Wake and Rise before the sun to capture the high vibrational prana, life-force energy, and delight of the glorious sunrise.
5. Develop Sattvic states of mind; calm, positivity, enthusiasm, joy, happiness, honesty, humility, flexibility, moderation, balance, gratitude, inner silence
6. Engage in conscientious hard work that contributes good and service in the world.
7. Always tell the truth and avoid hurting anyone’s heart
8. Study spiritual text and educational, inspirational and uplifting words
9. Listen deeply when spoken to and offer compassionate words
10. Live mindfully and in the present moment
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