“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as in being able to remake ourselves.” – Mahatma Gandhi
As our journey through the 8 limbs of yoga continues, we arrive at the second limb: the niyamas. While the yamas are about our relationship with others, the niyamas are about our relationship with our Self. The first of the five niyamas is saucha.
Saucha is the personal practice of cleanliness – of body, mind and spirit. At the physical level, saucha applies to our surroundings and environment as well as our bodies. Keeping our space (our home) and our temple (our body) pure, we are able to move closer to pure consciousness.
Observing saucha in our lives quickly brings the realisation that this is a never- ending quest. We learn that cleanliness and purity of our environment, our bodies and our minds are impermanent. Judith Hanson Lasater beautifully explains that saucha is in fact a practice, not a ‘perfect’: “Purity is the consistent and loving intention to accept our inherent goodness.”
5 simple ways to practice saucha:
1. Declutter: start with clearing and organising the desk at work, then look to declutter the whole house.
2. Eat clean: look at what you put inside your body and bring pure and nutritious foods to the menu.
3. On the mat: make a ritual of cleaning your mat following every asana practice.
4. Breathe: pranayama is a sure way to cleanse and purify within. Practice nadi shodana daily to clear the internal energy channels and cleanse the nervous system.
5. Meditate: what better way to declutter the mind than daily meditation. Practicing any form of meditation helps calm and clear the head, and gives us glimpses of pure stillness.