Guna is a Sanskrit word that means a quality or constituent of nature. There are three primary gunas that emerge creating the essential aspects of all nature – energy, matter and consciousness. They are Tamas (darkness), Rajas (activity), and Sattva (beingness).
All three gunas are always present in all beings and objects surrounding us but vary in their relative amounts. We humans have the ability to alter the levels of gunas in our bodies and minds as they cannot be separated or removed in oneself. The different guna influence and are influenced by physical and psychological factors, food being one factor. Certain foods are conductive to certain qualities.
Tamasic, when overweight, there is usually a Tamasic tendency in the diet. A Tamasic is energy depleting and lacks nutrition. It includes foods that are not fresh, may be highly processed, and heavy and oily. To reduce Tamas, avoid Tamasic foods, over sleeping, over eating, inactivity and fearful situation.
Rajasic foods have a stimulating, heating effect on the body. They can promote fat-burning, but in excess can lead to digestive discomfort, ill-health and mental agitation. Examples are spicy foods, refined sugar and extreme flavor. When food is over-spiced, natural flavors will diminish. Physical exercise has a Rajasic effect on the body and if not over done, exercise can help the body from Tamasic to a sattvic state. To reduce rajas avoid rajasic foods, over exercising, overwork, loud music and excessive thinking.
A sattvic diet promotes health and energy, mental clarity and a calm state of being conductive to emotional health. A sattvic diet is rich in fresh, natural foods, whole grains and legumes and fresh fruits and vegetables that grow above the ground and creates a slightly alkaline environment for optimal digestion and health.
To increase sattva, reduce both rajas and tamas, eat sattvic foods and enjoy activities and environment that produce joy and positive thoughts.
Thida (IHA Student)