If you have a regular practice or certain habits that help you live with less stress, more sleep, more mindfulness, more empathy, better nutrition and more movement, you might have a sattvic practice. Sattvic come from the Sanskrit word sattva, which means quality of positivity, truth, wholesomeness, serenity, balance, lightness, peacefulness, and virtuousness. Sattva is one of the three guṇas (tendencies, qualities and attributes), a complex philosophical and psychological concept developed by the Samkhya school of Hindu philosophy.
One of my homework assignments last week for yoga teacher training was to come up with my own sattvic program – habits or practices I can do each day to bring myself closer to a state of sattva. Traditionally, some of these practices might include:
- Eating a vegetarian diet (meats and animals fats are considered to be tamasic food, which comes from the word tamas, one of the other gunas that pertains to qualities of chaos, heaviness, and darkness)
- Practicing yoga (obvs)
- Reflective activities such as journaling or meditation
- Keeping a consistent self-care/cleanliness routine (massage, hot baths, brushing your teeth, etc.)
I guess I follow a version of a sattvic program already, as I make time to exercise, generally eat nutritious plant-based foods, and make time for self-care (baths, massages, etc.) But since the start of yoga teacher training, I’ve felt the need revamp my sattvic program to align more with a yogic lifestyle, and more importantly, introduce or refine practices that will counteract activities or experiences that bring me out of balance.
Here’s the sattvic program I came up that I’ve been practicing since last week:
- Waking up 15 minutes early to do 10-20 minutes of yoga (mainly warm-up stretches, or practicing something we learned that week).
- Spend 10-15 minutes sitting quietly in meditation.
- Practicing nauli and using a tongue scraper (this is done as soon as I get up). In Ayurveda, nauli and tongue scraping are said to help improve digestion.
- Doing 30 minutes of either strength training or running – I used to exercise intensely for an hour, so this has been a hard change for me.
- Having tea first thing instead of coffee.
- Eating even less animal products (I’ve switched to oatmeal, berries and coconut yogurt for breakfast instead of a protein pancake made with egg whites, and am limiting my meat intake to fish only when I feel like it).
- Having an Epsom salt bath two to three times a week
- Reading before bed instead of looking at my phone (this was the only one I really struggled with).
- Going to bed by 9:30 p.m. (I was able to do this four out of seven days).
I’ve noticed a huge shift in my mindset and body at work and beyond just in the past seven days. I’m more present and less stressed out at work, especially during meetings. I’m coming up with all sorts of interesting and creative ideas, and am seeing things from new perspectives. I feel lighter and less tense, especially in my muscles. My stomach has never felt better, and I’m not getting bloated after lunch like I normally do. My skin and eczema are also improving slightly. I’m also feeling a bit more sensitive than usual, and hyper aware of my physical body.
I’m going to follow this new routine for the during of the yoga teacher training program to see if I notice anymore shifts.
Do you follow a sattvic practice? What do you do to feel more balanced and in line with your values?