Saucha, or purity, invites us to cleanse our bodies, our thoughts, and our words. As we purify, we become less cluttered and heavy. Purification brings about brightness and clarity by reminding us to remove what no longer serves us. As we clear our lives of distractions and toxins, more of our senses are available to meet each moment with integrity and freshness.
There are many ways to purify the system in yoga. Some are intimidating, while others not so much. No matter the route you take, one thing is clear: the yogis of old placed a high priority on purification. They knew how precious the life force is and developed yoga to cultivate, maintain and increase the flow of energy.
Make Room For What Matters
There is a great energy that lies, mostly dormant, within each of us. We have all, at times, felt the movement of this energy. These are the moments that stop us in our tracks with awe, sweep us up in joy or fill us with a deep sense of contentment. The cleansing process needn’t be grueling or earth-shattering. It might take the form of a walk to get the qi flowing, increasing your water intake or cleaning out the closet.
Cleansing strengthens the body and mind. It keeps our actions in alignment with our values. Cleansing prepares us for the awakening of the untapped clarity and energy within. As with all the guidelines, interpret them in a way that works for you. Riff off the idea of detox by focusing on “cleansing” the tongue by doing no harm in words. Whatever form it takes, it begins with the intention to “lighten” the load we are carrying by getting rid of what weighs us down.
As with all the Yamas and Niyamas, there are many valid interpretations. Another way Saucha is understood is by wholeness. It asks that our head and heart be aligned, that all the various parts of ourselves be fully present in the moment. Modern life encourages us to be fragmented. Hurrying, multi-tasking, and busyness – all symbols of success in our culture – keep our minds scattered. The practice of purity asks us to slow down and do one thing at a time.
Next up is contentment. The seventh of the Yoga Sutras.
Beams of gratitude to Deborah Adele for her wisdom and inspiration.