10 Tips for Living a more Sattvic Life
Living in Balance: The Gunas
Finding and maintaining 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 a 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.
1. 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
Even spending just a few moments to center yourself each day can have a profound effect on your overall state.
4. Sleep early, Wake and Rise before the sun to
Capture the high vibrational prana, or life-force energy, that is present just before and after the sun rises, also known as the brahma muhurta. Delight in the glorious display of colours and vibrations that are present at this magical sunrise time of day, when the veils between dark and light are said to be at their most thin.
5. Develop Sattvic states of mind.
Peace, calm, positivity, presence, clarity, enthusiasm, joy, happiness, honesty, humility, flexibility, moderation, balance, gratitude, inner silence – these are the sattvic states to cultivate through our practice. Yoga, meditation, journalling, being in nature – these are some examples of activities that can help cultivate these states.
6. Engage in conscientious hard work that contributes good and service in the world.
Engaging in work that is in alignment with your heart and with the good of others and the planet helps to in turn nourish you with more of the aforementioned sattvic states. If you engage in work or daily habits or behaviours that leave you feeling anxious, dread, doom or gloom in anyway, this is an indication that change may be necessary. If you need help getting clarity, taking a step away from your everyday life, and joining a Yoga retreat in paradise, can help offer you some much needed support, instruction and perspective.
7. Always tell the truth and avoid hurting anyone’s heart
“The truth will set you free” – famous quote from the bible that gives such excellent life instruction. There is clarity, and lightness in speaking truth and in speaking love. Gossiping, neglecting to be honest or leaving out truths, and telling non-truths even in the spirit of avoiding hurting someone’s heart, always has the tendency to rear it’s ugly head at some point, and often does more harm to the communicator than anyone else.
8. Study spiritual text and educational, inspirational and uplifting words
Malcom Gladwell in his book “Outlier’s” has famously shared his theory that to become expert in anything we need to spend 10,000 hours in dedicated practice or study. Similarly, if you want to live with Sattva as your baseline state of being, it is important that you input as much of all of the above points in to your life as often as possible. Books, podcasts, videos from great masters are all great ways to immerse your self in in positivity, clarity and insight.
9. Listen deeply when spoken to and offer compassionate words
Presence is the greatest gift we can offer ourselves and others. When you are with someone, offer them your full presence.
10. Live mindfully and in the present moment
Be awake to the emotions, feelings and mental and physical states that are present to you this NOW. Each moment can be our teacher if we allow it to be. There is so much information in each moment that can help us know ourselves more, and cultivate more calm, presence and sattva.