Sattva: the cultivation of goodness

What does it mean to be sattvic? – this is one of the three existing gunas (qualities), which is expressed in balance, calmness, purity and clarity in human life. From the point of view of Ayurveda, any disease is a deviation towards or, and the treatment will be bringing the body to the sattva guna.

Rajas is characterized by movement, energy, transformation, which (when overabundant) leads to imbalance. Tamas, on the other hand, represents slowness, heaviness and laziness, which generally translates into inertia.

People in whom the qualities of rajas predominate are overly active, purposeful, ambitious and in a constant race. After a while, this lifestyle causes chronic stress, emotional and physical exhaustion, and other diseases typical of the guna of rajas. At the same time, tamasic people lead a slow and unproductive lifestyle, they are often lethargic and depressed. The result of such a state is the same – exhaustion.

To balance these two states, in all elements of nature, there is a blissful guna of sattva, to which we aspire in order to be healthy. A sattvic person has a clear mind, purity of thoughts, words and actions. He does not overwork like rajas and is not lazy like tamas. However, being a part of nature, we are composed of all three gunas – it is only a matter of proportion. One scientist said: Similarly, we cannot see any of the gunas with our eyes, but we feel their manifestation in our lives. What is the manifestation of sattva guna? Ease, happiness, wisdom and knowledge.

Any food also consists of three gunas and is the main factor determining the prevalence of one or another quality in us. Light, clean, organic and fresh food in moderation is sattvic; stimulating such as spicy food, alcohol and coffee increase rajas. Heavy and stale food, as well as overeating, result in the guna of tamas.

The following steps will allow you to move towards the predominance of sattva and the cultivation of goodness in every day of life:

1. Food

If you feel constant stress, anxiety and irritation, you need to pay attention to the amount of rajasic food and drink you consume. Gradually replace with sattvic food: fresh, preferably locally produced, whole food – the one that gives us maximum nutrition. On a day when tamas prevails in nature, some rajasic food can be added. Kapha, which is more prone to the guna of tamas, may benefit from coffee in the morning, but not every day. It is recommended to avoid onions and garlic, which have rajasic properties.

2. Physical activity

Yoga is a sattvic practice that allows you to balance the body with a conscious approach. Especially Vata and Pitta constitutions need to avoid excessive physical exertion, which can only stimulate them, already prone to rajas.

3. Work-life balance

Do you belong to the type of people who are ready to work day and night, without days off, and go ahead to the goal? This quality of rajas may not be easy to change. Spending time in nature, in meditation, paying attention to yourself is not selfishness and not a waste of time. Such pastime is necessary for a quality and balanced life. A sattvic way of life cannot consist of work alone.

4. Spiritual practices

Connecting with what is greater than us promotes peace, tranquility and clarity in us – all sattvic qualities. It’s just a matter of finding a practice that resonates with your soul and doesn’t become a “commitment.” This item can also include breathing practices (pranayama), reading mantras or prayers.

5. Worldview

If there is one single most important aspect in cultivating sattva (after eating), it is the feeling of gratitude. Gratitude takes a person only a few seconds. Learn to be grateful for what you have now – this allows you to get rid of the tamasic desire to have more and more. Cultivate a more and more sattvic person in yourself gradually, by being mindful of what you eat, practice, think and say every day.

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