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.

Slow down

Avoid urgency, rushing from task to task in a day, or being in the energy of 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.

Adopt a routine

Our bodies do well with a consistent rhythm and flow to the day. Getting good sleep and rising early is one example. The Yogis teach that mornings are especially sattvic and are a great time to meditate and gently purify mind and body. Consider beginning and ending your day with meditation.

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.

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.

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 old, stale and processed foods. Learn about your Ayurvedic constitution and eat foods that are particularly balancing for your dosha.

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, wherever you do it, let it bring you into alignment with truth.

Emphasize the positive

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. 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. Helping others, sharing your talents and gifts opens your heart to your natural state of light and loving kindness. Selfless service spreads love to those you help and uplifts you as well.