How to balance the gunas

The three Gunas come in cycles, one after the other. One naturally experiences these three qualities from time to time. However, there are also other factors that affect the Gunas, and that is the lifestyle that we choose to lead. It is a two-way street. A healthy lifestyle helps increase Sattva, which in turn balances the Rajas and Tamas qualities.

Animals are governed by nature, so there is no imbalance in them. They never overdo anything. They never overwork, overeat, or over indulge in sex. They cannot overdo anything because they have no freedom.

Human beings on the other hand are endowed with freedom, or you can call it the power of discrimination (i.e., what to do, how much to do, when to do, and whether or not to do). This discriminative power, to do or not to do, is given to human beings because they possess freedom. We can overeat and get sick. We can over-sleep and feel dull. We can over-indulge in activities and get restless, or experience other problems, and all of this causes an imbalance in the Gunas that affect the quality of our being.

How do we balance the Gunas in us?

The Gunas can be balanced through spiritual practices, a healthy lifestyle and by following a Sattvic diet.

How can spiritual practices help you?

The purpose of all spiritual practices is to increase the Sattva level in us, which brings that basic transformation in our constitution. Our constitution changes when Sattva becomes more and more. And when Sattva becomes more and more, then there is knowledge, alertness, awareness and joy in life. All these qualities come along with Sattva.

Sorrow and misery come along with Rajas, and delusion and dullness come along with Tamas. So it is very important to take some time off every now and then and immerse ourselves in doing spiritual practices.

Here are some spiritual practices that you can incorporate in your daily life to boost the Sattva in you:

  • Yoga Asanas Yoga is a great way to settle down the restlessness (Rajas) in the body and mind. About 15 to 20 minutes of yoga daily can help calm the nervous system.
  • Pranayama and breathing exercises Pranayama is an ancient technique specifically practiced to increase the oxygen flow in the body. The more oxygen you intake, the more energized you will feel.
  • Fasting Fasting is an age-old technique which has been prescribed over decades. This is because fasting is the best way to detoxify the body and raise the Sattva. It would be great to incorporate fasting every now and then in your life. If you are one of those who cannot fast, you can choose one day in a week to eat lesser than your usual intake, or eat only certain specific foods that are high in Sattva.
  • Meditation Meditation is one of the best ways to increase Sattva. The more you meditate, the more your Sativa grows and the more Sattva you have, the deeper is your meditation.

Why is leading a healthy lifestyle important?

A healthy lifestyle wherein all activities are done in moderation is the key to maintaining the Sattvalevel in us. Overindulgence in food, sleep, or any activity increases the Rajas and Tamas qualities in the body, which then have an impact on the way we feel.

So, all the basic lifestyle tips that our grandmas taught us are actually of great value.

“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”.
“Don’t lose all your health to gain wealth, and then all your wealth to gain health”.
“Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper”.

It would be a good idea to follow these tips, as they indeed maintain the Sattva in you!

Here are some pointers to lead a lifestyle that is conducive to maintaining the Sattva in you:

  • ExerciseIt is very beneficial to exercise at least three times a week. An early morning walk or run is the best way to start the day.
  • Avoid late nightsGo to bed at the proper time, and wake up early enough to participate in the glory of the sunrise.
  • Eat an early dinnerIt is always good practice to consume most of your daily intake while the sun is still shining, as the sun has a great impact on the digestive system.
  • Avoid overdoing anythingDon’t watch too many movies, eat too much food, sleep too much, or overwork. A holistic lifestyle is one wherein everything is done in moderation. Strive to be normal, humble, and ordinary. If you can achieve this, that’s extraordinary!

How can a Sattvic diet make all the difference?

Food can be classified into SattvicRajasic and Tamasic. Eating food of Sattvic quality raises the Sattva in you, and the same is with the other two Gunas as well. So, it is very important to have a Sattvic diet.

Sattvic diet is one that consists of fresh fruits, all vegetables (except onion and garlic), nuts, seeds, whole grains, fresh milk, and sweet spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, mint, holy basil, etc. Sattvic food items are generally easy to digest and they do not bring any heaviness or dullness in the body.

Food having excess of sugar, oil or spices are Rajasic foods. Non-vegetarian food or food items with too much onion and garlic are Tamasic foods.

Another important aspect is to eat only as much as is essential, so that food is well digested. The body should feel light at all points of time. So the right amount of food, and fresh food which is gently spiced is a great combination to keep the Sattva levels soaring in you.