According to Ayurveda, sattva is the quality of nature that contains balance, peace, harmony, purity and clarity. It is one of the three subtle qualities or ‘gunas’ that exist in all of nature. The other two qualities are rajas and tamas, rajas being the quality of movement, distraction, turbulence or activity that creates imbalance in life, while tamas being the quality of dullness, darkness, heaviness and stagnancy that creates inertia.
Sankhya, the philosophical base of Yoga and Ayurveda, states that everything in this life is composed of the three gunas, within and without us. We all have all three gunas within us in different proportions, according to our lifestyles and body types. On the extreme, a highly rajasic person shows up as always focused on doing, achieving and getting places, a lifestyle typical of modern fast-paced society which, over time, causes stress and burnout. On the other hand, a highly tamasic person is slow moving, heavy, lethargic and often depressed. Mental dullness and a lack of energy exist, due to a lifestyle of inertia, or from overdoing that results in exhaustion (too much rajas can also lead to tamas).
The predominant guna will depend on what we decide to cultivate daily through lifestyle and diet, along with our natural tendencies according to our own body type. Any imbalance or disease, according to Ayurveda, is a manifestation of too much rajas or too much tamas, therefore, if we want vibrant health, cultivating sattva is key.
5 simple ways to cultivate more sattva in daily life: