The yogic philosophy applies a theory called “The Three Gunas” which are said to be subtle manifestations of energetic movement. The gunas are said to exist in everything from the thoughts of the mind to the physical objects of Earth.The three gunas are:
Sattva: the intelligence that governs an object’s existence.
Tamas: solid form.
On a more subtle level sattva consists of bliss, rajas of agitation and tamas as inertia.
It is said that in the beginning of time all of the gunas were in balance and when in balance they existed only in the form of potentiality. The beginning of life necessitated an imbalance of the gunas causing material to manifest from subtle to grosser forms.
Because these qualities also exist within our own minds and bodies, it is up to us to work to balance them in order to yield well-being and enlightenment.
In yoga, the practitioner always seeks to increase sattva and decreases rajas and tamas.
You can easily decipher which of these tendencies is most predominant within you by coming to understand the gunas and how they are expressed.
It is ideal to work to increase sattva at all times, but to help reduce excess rajas or tamas in the body/mind you can carefully increase its opposing force (i.e. if you are highly rajasic, increase sattva and for a short while increase tamas as well until rajas has been alleviated.)
Maintaining a sattvic mentality and physicality is the most ideal pathway towards enlightenment. However, to actually cross that threshold, we must learn to let go of even sattva in the end.