The 3 Gunas, Food and Your Behaviour

The 3 Gunas, Food and Your Behaviour

Have you ever wonder why some chef cooks better than the others and why you prefer only certain type of cooking? Energy goes into the food we eat and when the chef is in a lousy mood, the bad energy goes in and the food just tastes horrible. On the other hand, you feel love and warmth in your mother’s cooking as she put in a lot of love and good energy into the food that you are eating.

Food can be classified into 3 categories:

  1. Sattvic Foods

This type of food increase life, purity, strength, health, joy and cheerfulness. They are fresh and natural food like vegetables, cereal, wheat, barley, yoghurt, milk, nuts and seeds. These foods have to be lightly cooked or eaten raw.

The behaviour of people who eat mostly sattvic food would be very calm and focused. This is one of the reasons why healthy vegetarians can have a more focused mind and sit still during meditation.

In yoga practice, you will be able to focus and do your own postures without distractions from the external factors. This is what yogis want to achieve.


  1. Rajasic Foods

This type of food is bitter, sour, saline, excessively hot, pungent, dry and burning. It comprises of onions, garlic, chilli, coffee, tea, tobacco, and dishes that are heavily spiced and salted. In fact, this is the most commonly found category outside at restaurants and cafes. In this busy and fast moving environment, we have overlooked what we put into our body.

Over-eating rajasic food increases lust, anger, greed, selfishness, violence, and egoism. On the contrary, people who have a certain portion of it could be more passionate and very active (makes you want to move).

In yoga practice, people who consume too much rajasic food will be very competitive. They will look at what others are doing and they want to do it, even at the expense of getting injured. I have personally seen too many of such cases where injury happens at the gym. We have to be more educated about yoga and not rush into postures without getting ready for it.


  1. Tamasic Foods

This type of food makes you more dull and lazy. It robs individuals of motivation and purpose in life. Meat, fish, alcohol, opium, etc. are tamasic in nature. Mushrooms are included in this category as they grow in darkness.

Do you know that meat-eating and alcoholism are closely related? When you stop eating meat, you will no longer have any craving for alcohol.

In yoga practice, the student will be finding excuses not to do certain postures. This defeats the whole purpose of practising yoga, and you will just be wasting your time without improvements even after you “practise” for many years. That is why self discipline is also very important in yoga practice.

3 gunas

Kat Boey

200hr YTT (Weekday – Nov 2013)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *