Sattva and conscious living

In Vedic philosophy, sattva is one of the three “gunas” (states of existence) that comprise our world. The sattvic quality is purity, goodness and light. Yogis believe that cultivating a sattva-dominant life helps the seeker elevate consciousness and evolve toward liberation.

Without the contrasts of busyness, reactivity or inertia, sattva is the state of our emotional, mental and physical equilibrium. If you would like to work towards a state of calm and peace here are some ideas that could assist.

Be in the company of truth

Be in the company of peaceful people who remind you of the truth, who guide you toward truth. Whatever you do and wherever you do it, your environment, the food you eat, the music you listen to, all of these impact you. Let every choice bring you into alignment with truth.

Emphasize the positive

Each evening as you think over your day, reflect on the positive, noble and pure thoughts you had during the day. Over the lifetime the mind has collected a lot of thoughts and habits, both positive and negative. With self-compassion, gradually begin to gently and consistently let go of the negative and raise the positive.

Give of yourself

Seva, or selfless service, is an integral part of the spiritual path, a means to gaining humility and surrender. Helping others, sharing our talents and gifts opens our hearts to our natural state of light and loving kindness. Selfless service spreads love to those we help and uplifts us as well.

Adopt a daily routine

Our bodies do well with a consistent rhythm and flow to the day. Keeping to the same hours for meals, bedtime and rising each morning contributes to sattva and balance. The Yogis teach that sunrise and sunset are ideal times to meditate, so you might want to establish your meditation practice at those hours or in a similar flow.

Engage in regular physical activity

Bring loving awareness to your body with hatha yoga stretches. A regular routine of gentle physical movement not only helps your mental state but also supports your meditation practice, enabling you to sit more comfortably. Taking walks energizes us, helps us with emotional equanimity and improves digestion.

Enjoy fresh, natural food

What we eat affects our state of mind and yoga emphasizes pure, clean foods from the earth to nourish body and mind. Eat as fresh as possible. Avoid leftover, stale and processed foods. Learn about your Ayurvedic constitution and eat foods that are particularly balancing for your dosha.

Stay close to nature

Being outside, especially in solitude where you can really be with the beauty and flow of life that surrounds you in nature, helps bring gratitude and calm as well as great lessons about how to live in balance. Observe the cycles of days and seasons and try to align with them. Nature shows us how our body works.

Take it slow

Avoid rushing from task to task in a day, or being in the energy of urgency and overdoing. Manage sensory input and avoid stimulants and intoxicants— whether foods and drinks or activities, they can dull the senses and obscure the path to clarity and calm.