Tamas Guna

Definition - What does Tamas Guna mean?

Tamas guna is one of the three energetic qualities of the universe. The name comes from the Sanskrit, tamas, meaning “darkness,” “illusion” and “ignorance,” and guna, meaning “quality” or “attribute.” Tamas guna is the quality in the universe that obscures higher consciousness and the unity of life. It represents inertia, laziness, mental dullness and greed.

People who have a dominance of tamas guna tend to be procrastinators who sleep too much, are easily manipulated and are in poor health. Balancing the gunas leads to good mental and physical health.

Yogapedia explains Tamas Guna

All three gunas are present in everyone and all creation, but one guna may be more dominant than the others. In addition to tamas guna, the other two gunas are:

  • Sattva guna, which is light, knowledge and harmony
  • Rajas guna, which is passion, energy and activity

Tamas guna makes it difficult to grow spiritually and reach higher levels of consciousness. To balance tamas guna, the yogi must become more active and avoid sedentary activities. Yoga asana practice should include energizing backbends and balancing poses, as well as more vinyasas, rather than holding poses. Pranayama clears stagnant tamas guna, while meditation should involve movement rather than a stationary seated position.

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