by Lena Schmidt
The yogic journey, as defined by Patanjali (the ancient sage said to have authored the Yoga Sutras, a foundational text of yoga) is an eight-fold path. The eight limbs act as guidelines for how to live a healthy and meaningful life, tuned into one’s own purpose and spiritual nature. The eight limbs are yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi. Over the next few weeks we’ll be diving deeper into each of the 8 Limbs here. Enjoy your journey!
One limb of the eight-fold path is the Niyamas, or attitudes and behaviors towards ourselves. The Niyamas are basically the moral “do’s.” The 5 Niyamas are Saucha, Santosha, Tapas, Svadyaya, and Isvarapranidhana. The first of the Niyamas is Saucha. Saucha is cleanliness, order, or purity.
You can practice Saucha in your yoga practice by:
- Cleaning your mat, practice area, yoga clothing, and props
- Organizing your props (place blocks where they are accessible during practice, move blankets out of the way when they’re not in use, put communal props away mindfully)
- Cleaning your body (maintain personal hygiene, if not for yourself, out of respect for those practicing near you ☺)
- Clearly executing the asanas
- Honoring yoga etiquette and the traditions of the space (for example: remove your shoes before entering the yoga room, avoid wearing heavy scents, keep your voice quiet inside and just outside the practice space)
- Clearing your mind of mental clutter
You can practice Saucha in daily life by:
- Cleaning your living space
- Speaking with clarity, care, honesty, and kindness
- Eating delicious foods that help you feel healthy
- Drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated
- Maintaining clear boundaries with the people in your life
Practice tips: It’s been shown that outer order can help create inner calm…and cleaning can actually be very meditative! Try a total Saucha de-clutter session: clean the most important areas in your home, clean your body in a warm bath or shower, and meditate on a mantra to clear your mind.
How are you practicing Saucha in your life, both on and off the mat? Share with us below. We’d love to know!