Do you feel your life could benefit from more peace, clarity and calmness? Or perhaps you feel the pull to live more in alignment with your truth and personal values? Maybe now the days are longer and lighter, you’re drawn to bring more lightness into your life? Whether it’s in diet, daily routines, yoga practice or professional work, there are many ways to find balance by bringing a sense of Sattva into everyday life.
What is Sattva?
Sattva is part of the three gunas, a term referring to the three qualities that are inherent in all aspects of nature, and which influence us from moment-to-moment. Made up of Rajas (the kinetic energy of dynamism, movement, power and change), Tamas (the slow, dull, dark, and resistant energy), and Sattva itself, the gunas’ qualities are in the foods we eat, our yoga practice, relationships, and essentially everything we do each day.
Sattva has the energy of lightness, clarity, stability, balance, luminosity and truth, with the word ‘sat’ translating as ‘real’ or ‘true’. In many contexts, we could think of sattva as a state of peaceful conscious awareness, as it’s also used to describe a state of pure beingness. You might have experienced a state of Sattva whilst in Savasana, after a week of eating healthy foods, when meditating, or maybe whilst in the ‘flow-state’, also known as being ‘in the zone’. We tend to make good, clear, grounded decisions whilst in a sattvic state, whilst feeling calm and present too.
Why is Sattva important?
Sattva is our natural, balanced state, and for thousands of years, yogis have been adopting specific diets, lifestyles and practices in order to cultivate it. We all deserve to feel at peace; to feel calm, clear and conscious, and if our lives, minds and bodies are deprived of sattva, we’re likely to experience stress, sickness, fatigue, burnout, in a constant state of being reactive rather than pro-active. Thankfully, there are simple ways we can start to bring more sattva into everyday life through the foods we eat, our daily rituals and routines, and the choices we make. Read on for a few tips on finding more clarity, calmness and peace every day:
- The Sattvic Diet
A traditional yogic diet is thought to be purely sattvic, because of the powerful effects of foods and herbs on the activity of body and mind. Tamassic foods (like overly processed or stale foods and alcohol) can make the mind feel dull, lethargic, foggy and low, whilst Rajassic foods (think chillies, coffee, onions and garlic, and nightshades) can over-heat the body and mind, increasing the vrittis or ‘fluctuations’ of the mind, which is a severe obstacle when it comes to meditating. These foods may also make us feel physically heavy or irritated, which too holds us back from being our healthiest, happiest selves. Sattvic foods are pure, easily digested, and support a traditional yogic lifestyle. Try using less spices, preparing meals from scratch, eating whole and unprocessed foods, shopping locally, and eating at least three hours before bed to encourage a more sattvic state. Spinach, carrots, celery, cucumber, kelp, lettuce, melons, apples, peaches, bananas, mung beans, basmati rice, lentils, seeds and high-quality organic milk and ghee are considered sattvic. The classic Ayurvedic recipes like kitchari and turmeric milk are great examples of sattvic staples. To start cooking in a more Sattvic way, dive into cook books like The Kripalu Kitchen or The Ayurvedic Cookbook.
- A Slower, Sattvic Pace
Rushing from one task to another with little time to pause is all too common. With over-flowing email inboxes, incessant phone notifications, and self-imposed demanding to-do lists, many of us are in a near constant state of stress. Unless you’ve already made a conscious effort, it’s likely that pretty much everyone reading these words needs live at a more sattvic pace. In their book Sattva: The Ayurvedic Way To Live Well Emine and Paul Rushton beautifully guide us through their own journey towards living a more Sattvic life. “When we adopt a sattvic mindset and way of living, life itself – the literal ‘things’ that make up the ‘day’ – may not change, but the way it feels will be completely transformed. We will continue to wake, eat breakfast and go to work. There will still be challenges aplenty, but we can choose to react to them in a panicked, impatient and frustrated way, or we can approach the highs and lows with equanimity, perspective and patience – the essence of sattva”.
To begin living in a more sattvic way, reflect upon your past week, or look at your to-do lists from the last few days. Where are you pushing yourself too hard? When are you trying to please someone else at the detriment of your own wellbeing? Where can you make more space? Finally, when you begin writing out your weekly work plan, or think about your day, prioritise ‘white space’, This is space to experience beingness – pure Sattva.
- Align With Your Truth
When we live in alignment with our personal values and in a way that feels purposeful and true to us, we naturally bring more Sattva into every single day. Living in alignment with our truth allows life to flow more harmoniously; it can energise us whilst also helping us feel less stressed, and brings more joy into each moment. The thing is, we often hold ourselves back from living our most authentic lives, perhaps out of fear, or just because we don’t know what our ‘truth’ really looks like. To bring more sattva into your life, start asking for what you truly need; do you need more time for yourself? Do you need more support? Do you need to be listened to? Or do you need to express yourself more? What parts of life do you value most? Is it living sustainably? Connecting to your community? To unearth your truth, use a journal like the Daily Greatness journal to rediscover thoughts and true desires hidden deep the mind. Living your truth doesn’t have to mean making drastic life changes, rather it’s about the little decisions, daily routines, and even the products we use that can start to make a big difference and help bring more Sattva into everyday life.