The Gunas Chart


The yoga tradition tells us that prakriti is an intermingling of three entities, or gunas, that are constantly shifting in relation and proportion to one another. They have differing qualities, and their activities either conceal or reveal the presence of purusha, which is the observer of their movements.








Key Features


light, upward moving, pure, transparent, inspiring, warm


active, moving, agitated, restless, throbbing


dark, heavy, inert, downward-moving, opaque



clear, content, inspired to spiritual pursuits, concentrated, accepting


flooded with thoughts, excited, hyperactive, nervous, wordly


unclear, heavy with depression, hopeless, no inspiration, dull



faith, devotion, peace, humility, contentment, cheerfulness, detachment, yearning for liberation, love


desire, anger, greed, hypocrisy, arrogance, jealousy, egoism, envy, ambition, competitiveness, expectation


sadness, lack of enthusiasm, stubbornness, clinging, apathy, hopeless, dejection



light, joyful, supple


energetic but restless


dull, heavy, listless



energetic, light, and composed


unsteady, too active


heavy, stiff, immobile



light, fresh, easily digested, neither under- or overcooked, calming


strong taste, heavily spiced, pungent, overly salted, disturbs sleep, causes dreams


stale, heavy, full of additives/preservatives, overly sweet, induces sleep, overcooked

Attached to


knowledge and happiness




negligence, sloth, and sleep



without desire for fruit according to scriptures, faith in duty, happy


seeking fruit, hypocritical, ostentatious, anxious/stressed


with foolish obstinacy, fails to observe scriptures or right practice, without faith



clean, fresh, quiet, peaceful, harmonious, cooperative, green, uncongested


conflicted energies, exciting, busy, plays music constantly, argumentative


dull, dark, stale, unclean, congested with old ideas, depressing, slothful



knows virtue


unclear virtue/vice


obscured thinking

About the Teacher

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Rolf Sovik
President and Spiritual Director of the Himalayan Institute and a clinical psychologist in private practice,... Read more