It’s been a couple of weeks, but we’re getting back into our yoga philosophy posts! Today, we’re having a look at the first of the Niyamas: Saucha.
Reminder: Niyamas are thought of as inner observances that help us to build discipline and character.
In his book ‘Light On Yoga’, B.K.S. Iyengar says that ‘purity of body is essential for well-being’. Well, isn’t that kind of obvious? We all know that when we eat nourishing food, move our bodies and watch what we’re putting into our mind (and making aligned choices) we feel better. Well, maybe we don’t know that, but as a concept, I think that’s well known.
Saucha relates to cleanliness & purity, and it’s not just encouraging us to have showers or eat well so that we feel well, it’s also encouraging us to offer ourselves practices (like yoga, breathwork & meditation) that help us to cleanse ourselves internally when we’ve overindulged or taken ourselves away from a place of balance (either consciously OR sub-consciously).
Yoga (or moving the body in another way) helps us to release any stored up ‘impurities’ from our system. Meditation helps us to calm the mind and to notice the thoughts that may not be serving us. Pranayama (breathwork) helps us to restore balance to our breathing and to calm our nervous system. Each of these practices is useful to practicing Saucha and therefore creating character & discipline.
If you were going to put this inner observance of Saucha into practice, how would you approach it?