Inner harmony and equilibrium can be a fleeting experience. Especially when life is rocky. Cultivating Sattva, which can be translated as Inner Harmony and Equilibrium is what Ayurveda and Yoga are all about.
Sometimes life is smooth, we are in the flow and there is ease.
Other times there are unexpected curve balls, massive upheavals and life can be too full and full on. I think we have all experienced a level of this over the last 18 months.
What holds us during these times? What helps us build acceptance, grace and ease?
In times of great change and upheaval I find peace in Sadhana. Sadhanas are the little things and rituals that we mindfully do each day that ground and nourish us, help us to tune in and create stillness and acceptance of all that is.
Maya Tiwari, Author and Ayurvedic seeress, describes a Sadhana as “a practice that is attuned to nature and has been refined through all time…Sadhanas stir our cognitive memory, garner the vibrations of the Universe and help us to meld with the Earth body….These wholesome practices refine our vibratory powers and enable us to strengthen the spirit. (Maya Tiwari, A Life of Balance).
Sadhanas, aka our little daily practices, are incredibly important for cultivating Sattva.
Sattva is the energy of harmony and equilibrium. It is one of three primordial energies of the Universe. The other two being Rajas (kinetic energy) and Tamas (inertia).
It is probably not a far stretch of the truth to say that we are all seeking more Sattva, inner peace and harmony. Thankfully there are many ways we can cultivate more Sattva in our lives.
In fact, you know… that inner peace you long for? it is already within you! It’s always there. Sometime we just need support to help us to cultivate the connection. To tend our inner garden.
Here are some Sadhana tips to help you to connect with and cultivate more Sattva:
* Meditate- even just 2 minutes of sitting quietly and dropping your focus to your breath, especially a belly breath, will calm your nervous system, and make your life feel more spacious.
I rise most days just before dawn, slip out of bed without waking Mr Veda or the kids, scrape my tongue, (have a look here why I do this strange thing!), have a big drink of warm water with lemon, and then I go within.
Ayurveda teaches that life energy, Prana, is at it’s most still and Sattvic at this time of day. Considering that we feed what we focus on, giving my Prana, the life energy in my own body, loving attention at this time of day increases it potency. I connect with, revere and cultivate my Prana and Sattvic energy. I ground my energy by connecting with and feeling grateful for the Earth that I sit on and that nourishes me.
* Practice Gratitude – each day, think of just one things you feel grateful for. This simple practice drops you into a state of ease. Where there is ease… there is Sattva. When we become stressed it is hard to see the good in life. We feel overwhelmed by all that we perceive has to happen. My Dad use to call this ‘feeling compressed’. Weighed down!
Keep a gratitude diary that you write in each night before bed. Or bring this Sadhana to your family dinner table and all share just one thing (or more!), that you were grateful for today. It can be as simple as the sunshine or a shared smile. There is always something to be grateful for and as we give this attention it grows and make the hard stuff feel a little lighter and easier!
* Practice any type of body and breath tradition that you are drawn to. Yoga, Tai Chi, Chi Gong or simply walking in nature and connecting your mind, body and breath. Aaaah.
* Eat Ghee, whole foods, fresh fruit and vegetables – I know everyone has their own food preferences and I respect that. But in general, less processed food and more fresh = more Sattva! Certain herbs help to cultivate Sattva such as Brahmi, Shatavari, Jatamansi and Ashwagandha. (Always see an Ayurvedic practitioner before self medicating with herbs!). Some spices that are harmonious to body and mind are also recommended. Turmeric, fennel, coriander, cardamom and ginger and Sattvic Spices.
When life becomes full or full on simplify what you can, where you can.
Another way to bring more ease and harmony into your life is to simplify meals. When we are stressed our digestion does not work so well. Support your body through stressful times by making easy to digest meals. I’ll often make a range of easy and delicious soups and one pot meals that are grounding and nourishing. I’ll often add fresh greens for that high prana, alive and raw element!
* Take time out – the antidote to life feeling too full, fast and overwhelming (Rajasic) or too heavy and dull (Tamasic) is creating simplicity, space and self care. Give yourself a ‘mental health’ day off. Go on a Retreat (check out my Feminine Vitality Retreat here!), or a holiday (when possible!)
As awesome as it is to get away on a Retreat that may not be possible for you right now. But each day it is possible to make a little more space in your life by starting your day, BEFORE checking your phone or schedule, in a few minutes of stillness, or meditation.
As you become more familiar with inner stillness (even if your mind is not still… when you still your body eventually your mind will follow!), then throughout your day you can drop back into this still space within
* Self massage – this is an essential Sadhana for me! This practice brings such nourishment to my nervous system. Simply applying warm oil to the whole body builds strength and improves immunity and resilience. Some days I apply the oil whilst in the shower to save time and know that it still makes a difference!
Lastly… * Be ok with the fact that you will feel Rajasic and Tamasic at times too. We are always in flux and will naturally move through these different states. Sometimes we need the heaviness of Tamas for example, to stop and rest. Then we use the kinetic energy of rajas to get us back moving and heading towards Sattva.
It is definitely easier to develop these Sattvic Sadhana habits when life is already going smoothly and well. But little steps can build them in to create more Sattva to your days. Then, they will be there for you when life serves a curve ball and you will be able to ride those tricky times with more ease and resilience.
What is your favourite Sadhana for cultivating more Sattva? What is the little thing you do each day that keeps you feeling well, connected to your energy and spirit and bring more ease and joy into your life? Add it in the comments!
If you don’t yet have any that you can think of…try one of mine!