Where Does Your Energy Lie? Introduction to the Gunas

Ayurveda & YouDoshasLifestyle
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Have you noticed how at times you’re full of over-activity, change, momentum, and constant movement? While at other times you feel sluggish, heavy, depressed, and may feel stuck, unable to move forward? But you also hear about this state of inner peace, clarity, and sense of calm that allows us to find tolerance in the world around us and feelings of appreciation and happiness within ourselves. These qualities described in Ayurveda as the Gunas…three universal energies that are always present and constantly changing.

intro to Gunas

We, as humans, have the unique ability to consciously alter the balance of the gunas in our bodies and our minds. Each guna is needed in our lives. Looking to begin a new project? You’ll benefit from Rajas.

Feeling burned out? Tamas can help you slow down. And Sattva can help you find peace and clarity.

However too much Rajas or Tamas can lead to imbalance and dis-ease. Too much Rajas? Burnout mode. Too much Tamas? Depression sets in.

Everything around us is governed by the principles of the Gunas; Tamas, Rajas, and Sattva. The balance of these three qualities keep life moving and alive and relate to everything around and within us!

When we have awareness of these qualities within ourselves and the world around us, we can then create the balance needed to thrive in life!


TAMAS is a state of density, darkness, delusion, and inactivity and delusion, yet it is also the force of materialization and manifestation. Tamas can allow us to fall into unhealthy patterns, keeping us stuck, creating attachment.  Yet, when refined, it is also a state of groundedness and centeredness.

If unbalanced, Tamas shows up as addictions, over sleeping, over eating, inactivity, and fear.

RAJAS  is the power of action and momentum. It is the positive state of change, passion, movement, and energy. Yet, it can also be responsible for agitation, reactivity, and emotional fluctuations. Without Rajas the universe and everything in it would always remain the same. Movement and change is needed!

If unbalanced, you may be craving caffeine or spicy foods. You may be over exercising, over working, blasting loud music, and excessively thinking, reacting, or consuming.

SATTVA is a state of clarity, peace, balance, and joy. Sattva is connected with our higher intelligence or intuition. When in a sattvic state, you have clear perception, easily feel your purpose, and are driven to evolve. Sattva is also connected to faith, honesty, self-control, and wisdom

If the force of sattva is high, you naturally crave healthy foods that nourish your body. You enjoy activities and environments bring joy and positivity.  In yoga and Ayurveda, the practices were developed to create sattva in the mind and body.


Our lifestyles, thoughts, diet, and daily habits are main factors that influence our balance of the gunas. We need a healthy balance of all three, as with the Doshas. The amazing thing is we can turn things around if we are on the wrong path.

Now that you have an awareness and understanding of these principles, you can become aware of the people, activities, thoughts, and choices that you make within your life and notice whether they are in that same energy, or leading you on the path to a more sattvic state.

For example, if you are more Tamastic… you may benefit from Rajas in order to move, evolve, and follow through with a goal you have set for yourself. Turn on some uplifting music, move your body in a way that feels good, find some stimulation to move you out of a sluggish state.

However, our world has become increasingly Rajastic. The drive to multi-task, achieve, balance multiple roles, and keep going increases this energy…leading to imbalance. A stimulating power yoga class may “feel” good, but may not be good “for” you.


  1. NUTRITION – light, clean, organic, fresh, seasonal foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and unprocessed oils
  2. MOVEMENT – daily activity such as walking, yin or hatha yoga, hiking in nature,
  3. WORK-LIFE BALANCE – schedule time throughout the day for yourself, do what you love, play, laugh, have fun!
  4. MINDFULNESS PRACTICES – spirituality, meditation, calming breathwork
  5. MINDSET – attitude is everything! Where the mind goes…energy flows, gratitude practices

When we find that gentle balance and become more Sattvic, we gain more tolerance, acceptance, and the ability to laugh at ourselves! Life becomes more fun and worth living! We connect closer to our true purpose and our soul self. 

Now let’s get out there and thrive!


Author: Carolyn Crews (YouVeda Wellness Contributor)

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