Working with the three gunas in daily life : Sattva, Rajas and Tamas

In the Vedic tradition, the whole universe and all objects around us have three main qualities : Sattva, Rajas and Tamas.

  • Sattva represent clear, calm,  peaceful, loving qualities. Trust, balance, contentment and harmony.
  • Rajas represents fire, action, hot, mobile type of qualities. Attraction, longing, anger, stress, determination.
  • Tamas represents heavy, dull qualities. Inertia, darkness, inactivity, ignorance, laziness, confusion.


Those qualities can be found in every aspect of life, time of the day, food, behaviours .. Here a few examples :

  • Mood
    • If you feel like watching a bad show on Netflix with a bucket of ice cream, you’re probably in Tamasic mode.
    • If you feel your head is super clear, calm, you are energised and enthusiastic about learning and doing things that are good for you or others, you are in a Sattvic mood.
    • If you feel passionate, angry, attached, restless, focused, with the need to move and cut through things, you are in a Rajasic mindset.


  • Time of the day
    • Morning is Sattvic, afternoon is Rajasic, Night is Tamasic


How to balance gunas


While we overall want to bring more sattvic quality in our lifes, we cannot always be calm and contemplative.

It’s healthy to balance the different gunas in different aspects of our lifes. However, know that if you feel dull and heavy, like increase like, and you might want to eat more sattvic food and wake up earlier to be active during sattvic time of the day.


  • Food
    • Foods that grow under the sun are sattvic : whole grains, fruits, cruciferous vegetables
    • Foods that are spicy or hot, coffee and stimulants are Rajasic
    • Food that are heavy or processed are Tamasic : mushrooms, meat, dairies, tofu, processed food, fried food, alcohol
  • Actions
    • Over eating or oversleeping will increase Tamas
    • Over exercising will increase Rajas
    • Practicing yoga and living a non-violent lifestyle, surrounding yourself by positive people and performing activities that bring you and others joy you increase the sattva.

Little by little, you can start developing more awareness of the predominant gunas in certain situations, and adjust your actions accordingly.