Sattva Training Programs

Do you long for inner peace and happiness while you are busy with everything in your life? That sounds ideal, right? Is that possible? Yes indeed! 
But that requires a major change in your lifestyle and inner self. Otherwise you will always fall back into old patterns that can lead to stress and possibly burnout.
Sattva Training helps you with this change.

What is sattva?

Yoga psychology and stress

Everyone knows that yoga provides inner peace. By sitting in a yoga posture for a while you feel that stress disappears naturally. However, most people do not know that there is also yoga psychology. Although this psychology is very old, the insights from it are very current. We can learn a lot from yoga psychology, especially in the areas of stress and burnout.

The three modes (gunas)

The concept of the three modes (gunas) plays an important role in yoga psychology. These modes are the basic qualities in the human psyche. They determine what we do and how we feel in our daily life. The three modes are sattva, rajas, and tamas. These words from Sanskrit cannot be translated into single Dutch concepts. That’s why I prefer to use the Sanskrit words.

Sattva

The word sattva means inner balance, clarity, and life satisfaction. Sattva leads to mental and physical relaxation and wellbeing.

People who are often in sattva feel inner peace and have healthy ambitions. They are enthusiastic in their work, but not overly attached to the results. They like to be successful, but they’re not addicted to money, fame, nor power. They have realistic goals in life. If they achieve their goals, they don’t immediately aim for higher goals. And if they don’t achieve their goals, they don’t get excessively disappointed. People in sattva remain balanced and patient under all circumstances.

Sattvic people pay a lot of attention to their health. Therefore they eat pure food and keep their minds clear. They like to get up early because the morning is conducive to sattvic activities. They love peace and therefore prefer to live outside the city. They also love art, music, science, philosophy, and spirituality. They are honest and attach great importance to kindness and honesty. Sattvic people like to take care of other people.

People in sattva are emotionally stable and able to express their emotions adequately. They do not get thrown back and forth by the alternation of success and setbacks. They know that success and setbacks alternate, such as the coming and going of summer and winter or the alternation of ebb and flow. As a result they experience little stress and are satisfied with their lives. Their sense of happiness is stable, comes from within, and is not dependent on external circumstances.

For people in sattva the meaning of life is to improve themselves and contribute something good to the world. They are able to rise above their individual interests and work for the collective interest.

Rajas

Rajas leads to action, creativity, affection, and ambition. All major inventions, artworks, organisations, and cultures were created thanks to rajas. Rajas also enhances appetite and the desire for love and sexuality. Rajas people love crowds and like to live in the city.

However, people who are too much in rajas get very highly ambitious and strive excessively for material possessions, power, or recognition. The goals they set are often too high. When they manage to achieve these goals with excessive effort, they quickly strive for even higher goals. If they do not achieve their goals, they become very stressed and disappointed. They quickly become envious of people who are more successful.

People with too much rajas are impatient, always in a hurry, and get irritated quickly. They are not emotionally stable. Therefore they tend to express their emotions disproportionately. They are often workaholics who neglect their families and friendships. Status is very important to them. Extreme rajas leads to narcissism.

The root causes of too much rajas are lack of self-confidence and low self-esteem. Rajas people believe that they will feel better if they are successful. But that is an illusion, because the sense of success is very temporary. Therefore they keep running and constantly have stress. As a result many rajas people develop physical issues and some end up in a burnout.

Tamas

The word tamas means darkness, ignorance, and laziness. When tamas is very strong, this orientation leads to complete stagnation, illusion, addiction, depression, psychosis, chaos, or destruction.

It doesn’t hurt to be in tamas from time to time, because this orientation is needed to delay or end things. Tamas also ensures that we get enough sleep and relaxation. But there are people who are constantly in this mode. They have little interest in developing knowledge. That’s why they tend to be very ignorant. Characteristics of tamasic people are:

  • eating and sleeping too much
  • preference for junk food
  • emotionally unstable
  • complaining about everything
  • hardly any self-reflection.

Tamasic people do not take good care of themselves and their dwellings are often dirty and messy. If they stay in tamas for too long, they run the risk of becoming addicted to alcohol or drugs.

Tamas can also arouse the need to break things down. In principle there is nothing wrong with that, because sometimes it is necessary to let go of old things. But if that tendency becomes too strong, aggressiveness, vandalism, or crime arises.

The root cause of too much tamas is partly the same as with people in rajas. Tamasic people also suffer from lack of self-confidence and a negative self-image, but to a greater extent. Moreover, they are very pessimistic. They do not believe that they will achieve anything in their lives and have given up the hope of a better future. They prefer to keep everything as it is for fear of even more misery. But that ultimately results in depression and sometimes even suicide.

Interaction among the three modes

The three modes are symbolically compared to colors. Tamas stands for dark colours, rajas for bright colors, and sattva for light colors. An endless number of color combinations can be created by mixing them. In the same way endless combinations of the three modes are possible. Many people are alternately influenced by the three modes. For others one of the modes is predominant.

Promotion of sattva

According to yoga psychology it’s necessary that sattva prevails for us to be healthy, happy and in little stress. That does not mean that rajas and tamas completely disappear. They will always exist to a greater or lesser extent. If sattva dominates, you are able to utilize the good aspects of rajas and tamas. People in sattva use rajas to have the necessary ambition for their work and tamas to sleep and relax.

Rajas and tamas are very dominant in our society. This leads to many psychological and physical health problems. We also see a growing influence of these two modes in India, although yoga psychology originated there. Promoting sattva and reducing rajas and tamas are therefore necessary for everyone in the world. As a result anxiety, burnout, depression, addiction, crime, and war will be greatly reduced and overall wellbeing will be enhanced. The more people be in sattva, the more an atmosphere of sattva will be created throughout society.

Kapila – Sankhya Aphorisms (the basis of the guna theory)

H. Goswami – Bhagavad-gita (the famous conversation between Krishna and Arjuna about the different yoga systems with a lot of information about the gunas)

Ramanuja – Sri Bhasya (commentary on the Vedanta Sutras, including in-depth analyses of yoga and the background of the gunas)

Patanjali – Yoga Sutras (one of the best known yoga writings) 

Jadunath Sinha – Indian Psychology (extensive overview with a lot about the gunas)

Surendranath Dasgupta – A History of Indian Philosophy (a standard work on Indian philosophy with a lot of information about yoga psychology)

David Frawley – Yoga and Ayurveda – Self Healing and Self Realization. (David Frawley is one of the best known Western writers in the field of yoga and ayurveda)

David Frawley – Ayurveda and the mind – The Healing of Consciousness

Martin Seligman – You can learn to be happy (Seligman is one of the founders of positive psychology, which strongly focuses on promoting sattva)

Maika Puta: Promoting Health by Sattva-Guna (a dissertation on increasing wellbeing and health through the promotion of sattva). https://monarch.qucosa.de/api/qucosa%3A20687/attachment/ATT-0/#page134.

One-day Sattva Training

An introduction for everybody
  • We will discuss the operation of the three modes of sattva, rajas, and tamas. You will learn to recognize them more and better both in you and in others.
  • You will learn and experience how being in sattva makes you more balanced and less stressed.
  • We will do experiential exercises to promote sattva.
For whom?

This training is suitable for everyone, both for people who want to create more sattva in their lives and for professionals who want to help their clients get more into sattva.

The One-Day Sattva Training is the same as the first day of the 12-day Sattva Training. You can immediately move on to the second day after completing the one-day training.

12-day Sattva Training

For self-development
  1. Introduction to teacher(s) and fellow students. You will study the operation of the three modes of sattva, rajas, and tamas. You will learn to recognize them more and better both in you and in others.
  2. You will learn a number of effective meditation techniques. In addition to classical sitting postures you will learn how to do all kinds of daily activities meditatively, such as walking, cycling, running, dancing, and swimming. You will learn some meditation during most lessons.
  3. You will learn the art of sattvic communication so that you can interact more harmoniously with others.
  4. You will learn to express your emotions adequately without suppressing them or expressing them out of control. You will investigate the causes of your emotions before you express them. In this way sattva will be developed.
  5. You will explore your self-confidence and self-esteem. You will dive into your past to gain insights into them, because they usually originate in childhood. This leads to better understanding of your current attitude to life.
  6. You will learn how to develop more sattva by reducing negative thoughts and feelings. In this way a positive and optimistic attitude will grow.
  7. You will explore your deeper motives and ambitions. Most of them originate in childhood. You will be reflecting on the attitude of your parents when they were raising you. What were their motives and ambitions? How was school? This will give you insights into what motivates you in your activities in sattva, rajas, or tamas.
  8. You will develop a sattvic lifestyle. You will learn the difference between food and stimulants in sattva, rajas, and tamas. You will examine your home and workplace and make them more sattvic. You will learn to improve the balance between work and relaxation so that more sattva is created. You will learn how to develop your best sleep rhythm.
  9. You will learn how you can release your inner inhibitions and addictions by getting more and more into sattva.
  10. You will learn which physical activities and exercises promote sattva and reduce rajas and tamas. We will spend some time in nature to experience sattva and release stress.
  11. You will explore your attitude to money. What are your ambitions in this area? You will learn how to earn your money in a sattvic way.
  12. During the last day you will share your insights about you assignments with the participants.

Assignments
  1. You will regularly visit your fellow students between training days to do exercises together that promote sattva. These meetings can also take place online.
  2. You will visit beautiful buildings with a serene atmosphere.
  3. You will visit beautiful nature reserves and sattvic parks.
  4. You will keep a diary of activities and relationships that promote sattva.

After the training
  1. You will recognize the influence of sattva, rajas, and tamas in you and others.
  2. You will learn how to bring on a profound personal transformation by stabilizing sattva within yourself.
  3. You will develop a healthy lifestyle that promotes sattva.
  4. You will learn how to develop sattvic relationships with other people.
  5. You will learn how to overcome stress by getting more and more into sattva. You will prevent burnout.

For whom?

This training is suitable for anyone who wants to develop a sattvic lifestyle, increase self-confidence, handle stress better, avoid burnout, or recover from a burnout more quickly. The training also helps to reflect on your career.

Five-day Sattva Training

For professionals
  • You will learn how to stimulate and guide your clients in promotion of sattva so that they can handle their stress better and avoid burnout. Of course, you will also work on promoting sattva in your life during this training.
  • You will study the functioning of the three modes. You will learn to recognize them more and better in you and your clients. You will learn how deep motivations and ambitions from childhood influence the three modes, which motivations and ambitions are driven by rajas and tamas, and how you can transform them in the direction of sattva.
  • We will pay ample attention to a sattvic lifestyle. You will learn the difference between food and stimulants in sattva, rajas, and tamas. You will learn how a home and workplace can be arranged in a way that promotes sattva.
  • You will learn how to let your clients deal with emotions sattvically. Suppression versus adequate expression.
  • You will learn which physical activities and exercises promote sattva and reduce rajas and tamas. You will also learn a number of effective meditation techniques. In addition to conventional sitting postures you will learn how to do all kinds of daily activities meditatively, such as walking, cycling, running, dancing, swimming, gardening, or cleaning.
  • We will spend a day in nature to do activities that promote sattva. You will learn how to use nature to overcome stress.
  • You will discuss your assignments with your fellow students.

Assignments
  • You will read a number of books that promote sattva.
  • You will keep a diary of which activities promote sattva.
  • You will do 3 counseling sessions with one or more clients and write a report about them.
  • After the training
  • You will recognize the influence of sattva, rajas, and tamas in yourself and your clients.
  • You will learn how to bring on a profound personal transformation to stabilize sattva within you and your clients.
  • You will learn how to help your clients stay stable in sattva in order to handle stress better and prevent burnout.

For whom?

This training is intended for professionals such as coaches, counselors, yoga teachers, mentors, psychologists, HR managers, therapists, social workers, doctors, and nurses.

The trainer

Peter Kryger has studied yoga psychology since 1977. He has been professionally active since 1986 as a regression therapist and hypnotherapist and since 2000 as a life coach. Peter founded the Atma Institute in 1989, which provides training and education in the field of personal development.