The First Niyama: Saucha




Saucha- Purity


“Your body is a temple. Keep it pure and clean for the soul to reside in.”

    BKS Iyengar


Cleanliness. Purity. Integrity. Internal and external purity. Clarity in thought, word and deed. Cleansing the mind, body, spirit and one’s surroundings.

    The niyamas are the second limb of yoga.  The niyamas are personal observances; they’re positive duties that are seemingly external but also deeply internal when practiced fully. The niyamas are mainly concerned with the relationship between the yogi(ni) and his or her own energy.  The niyamas are recommended virtues or habits not only for healthy living but also for a liberated existence and ultimately, spiritual enlightenment.

The first niyama, saucha, directly translates to purity.  Purity of the body is the first step to achieving/mastering the first niyama.  Physical cleanliness is rather straightforward. A certain degree of care needs to be taken so as to not offend those around you both on and off of your mat. Moreover, maintaining pure health from the inside out is an aspect of saucha.  Having care and concern for what you put into your body is vital to living this niyama. Also, being able to keep an active body will allow ease in mastering saucha.  Having a healthy body both inside and out is a key element to saucha.

The next logical step to furthering your practice of saucha is purity in thought.  Where do your thoughts go, naturally?  More importantly, where do your intentions lie?  Once our intention is clear, purity consists of the daily practice of consciously selecting thoughts, feelings and energies that can help us in our path- while effortlessly disposing of that which does not align with such purity. Without judgement, start to pay attention and observe your thoughts, especially any thoughts about yourself. How you treat and think of yourself sets the tone for how everyone else will respond to, react to, and treat you.  Your thoughts set the tone for a lot, if not everything, that happens externally.  

Another step to mastering saucha is cleanliness of word and deed.  After you recognize where your thoughts and intentions lie, start to observe, without judgement, your words.  How do you speak to others? How do you allow yourself to be spoken to?  Do your actions fall in line with your beliefs and words? This week, I encourage you to embrace purity in any form- be it physical, emotional, mental or all of the above. Make small adjustments to live a more pure lifestyle so that you can be more receptive to your higher purpose. Namaste.