A guna recipe for success?

A pinch of rajas, a dash of tamas and a handful of sattvic and you will have yourself the perfect balance. If only it were so simple…

According to yoga and ayurveda the Three Gunas are defined as the fundamental qualities of the manifest energy present in living and non-living things. These gunas or qualities influence our physical constitution and mental state.

In simplistic terms, the gunas can be summarized as follows:

Sattva – creative; clear; harmonious

Rajas – activity; movement

Tamas – inertia; dullness; lethargy

We all contain each of the gunas in varying degrees and they are in constant interplay with each other. Being neither good nor bad, their strength will fluctuate and adapt according to our environment and / or needs in that given moment. While yogis strive to dial up their sattva characteristics, they also recognise the need for both rajas and tamas. For example, rajas will give you that drive to push forward to perfect your head stand while tamas will help you stop before pushing too far and risking injury.

That said, you may notice that you yourself have a tendency towards one or the other. I know that I have clearly had a dominant of rajas most of my adult life working in a high-paced stressful environment, thoughts crowding my mind looking for the next challenge and preparing the next adventure.

The challenge is to recognise which guna dominates at a given moment and how it motivates your actions so that you can learn from your experiences and dial up the quality you choose to be most appropriate for the situation and also for your overall state of being. While there is no magic recipe to creating a harmonious balance, acknowledging the three gunas existence, observing your own feelings and reactions while adapting your diet can help strike the balance that works for you. You may want to stay with your dominant guna or you may want to make some adjustments in your lifestyle to change. Whatever decision you make, I encourage you to take a step back, observe and choose.


“I have been a seeker and I still am, but I stopped asking the books and the stars. I started listening to the teaching of my Soul.” Rumi

Type of food


easy to digest

stimulating  and

often times over stimulating

stale, under or over ripe
Eating habits

moderate amounts


too quickly too much
Influence on mind harmonising agitating dulling

cereals, fresh fruit,

pure water, veggies, milk, yogurt

spicy, sour,

acid foods like coffee,

hot peppers, onions

heavy meats, canned,

reheated foods,

fermented foods