International Yoga School – Yoga Teacher Trainings and Sound Healing, Rishikesh

The 3 Gunas of Nature and Their Effect

Gunas, As we all know The world around us is rich with various elements of nature or Prakriti. Similarly, nature around us is a perfect blend of forms, senses, and life. And each of these elements possesses their “Gunas” “गुण” or Quality/Property/kind/types.
These Gunas are a part of us humans and co-exist in different variations. Our food habits and personalities hence, reflect the dominance of the Gunas present within us.

The 3 Gunas Predominant in nature are Tamas, Rajas, and Sattva.

Tamas refers to darkness while rajas and sattva are individually activity and beingness. Each of these qualities has a significant effect on us, depending upon the combinations. For example, someone with rajas guna being predominant in them would be extremely active while another man with tamas would be highly chaotic.
According to our “Bhagavad Gita”, the Gunas or quality, however, can strike a balance. When there is harmony amongst all the Gunas in a being, they can reach an optimum amount of physical and mental fitness.

Bhagwat Geeta
The 3 Gunas of Nature and Their Effect

The food we ingest also has an impact on the Gunas’ imbalance or harmony. In fact, certain ingredients can heighten a Guna while others reduce their effect.
Let us look at the characteristics of each Gunas in detail.

Sattva and Its Ingredients

In Bhagwat Geeta Sattava is defined as
नियतं सङ्गरहितम रागद्वेषतः कृतम् । अफलप्रेप्सुना कर्म यत् तत् सात्त्विक उच्यते

Niyatam Sangarahitam Raagadweshatah Kritam; Aphalaprepsunaa Karma Yattat Saattwikamuchyate.

Sattva or Satvik means Pure. If you’re able to achieve Sattva, it is then the ultimate liberation. Sattva is the state of serenity, happiness and rest. You’ll feel at ease with yourself. Which means Sattva has an effect on reducing the Tamas and Rajas guna, balancing them for the perfect harmony.

So, In Saatvik diet we include foods which comply with its meaning. Fresh fruits, beans, veggies, nuts, and herbs heighten the effect of Sattva Guna inside of us.

Tamas and Its Ingredients to Avoid

In Bhagwat Geeta Tamas as Defines as अनुबन्धं क्षयं हिंसामनपेक्ष्य च पौरुषम् । मोहादारभ्यते कर्म यत्तत्तामसमुच्यते 

Anubandham Kshayam Himsaam Anavekshya ch Pourusham, Mohadarabhyate Karma Yattat Taamasamuchyate.

Tamas or Tamasic is the embodiment of chaos. It follows no rules and defies the spiritual life and its meanings. It, of course, reflects in our attitudes such as ignorance, short temper, and anger.
In order to reduce tamas in our system, we need to maintain some good habits. Optimum sleep, healthy consumption, and a balanced activity schedule.
When it comes to Tamasic food, be wary of chemically preserved and canned food such as meat or fish.
Food which is dry, frozen or sans any taste has a negative impact on our mind. For example, if the canned meat does not taste fresh, we will feel irritated and dissatisfied.

Rajas and Ingredients to Avoid

In Bhagwat Geeta Rajas Defines as
यत्तु कामेप्सुना कर्म साहंकारेण वा पुनः । क्रियते बहुलायासं तद्राजस मुदाहृतम्

Yattu Kaamepsunaa Karma Saahankaarena vaa punah, Kriyate Bahulaayaasam Tadraajasa mudaahritam.

Action that is driven purely by craving for pleasure, selfishness and much effort is Rajasic. Rajas is a state of action. This means if you have a high amount of this Guna in yourself, you will feel overtly active and restless.
There will be not enough peace inside you. Overwhelming tasks such as overthinking, consumption of fried food and loud music can increase Rajas Guna.
Avoid Rajasic food such as deep-fried chops or spicy noodles. Moreover, all fast food comes in this Category. These have an adverse effect on our health as well as peace of mind. Most importantly, stay away from energy drinks as they can heighten the unnecessary energy.

Thus, These Gunas affect our psyche and create a disbalance, each dominating the other when we aren’t at complete peace. This in return can have us view incidents in a different light.
Balancing out the elements within us is the surest way of attaining peace.

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