According to the ancient Indian philosophy of Samkhya, there are three types of gunas or qualities that exist in all things in the universe. The three gunas are:
1. Sattva Guna: Sattva is the quality of purity, light, and goodness. It is associated with clarity, wisdom, and knowledge. When sattva guna is dominant, the mind is calm, and the body is healthy. Sattvic foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and grains, are considered to be pure and beneficial for health.
2. Rajas Guna: Rajas is the quality of activity, passion, and restlessness. It is associated with desire, ambition, and action. When rajas guna is dominant, the mind is agitated, and the body is restless. Rajasic foods, such as spicy and oily foods, are considered to be stimulating and increase energy.
3. Tamas Guna: Tamas is the quality of darkness, inertia, and ignorance. It is associated with dullness, laziness, and negativity. When tamas guna is dominant, the mind is lethargic, and the body is weak. Tamasic foods, such as meat, alcohol, and processed foods, are considered to be harmful to health.
These three gunas are always present in varying degrees in everything, including people, food, and even thoughts. The goal of yoga and other spiritual practices is to increase sattva guna, reduce rajas and tamas gunas, and move towards a state of balance and harmony.