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Niyama #1 Saucha

May 20, 2013

By now you have learned the five Yama, the ethical disciplines, and Yama is the first of the eight limbs of Yoga. The second limb of Yoga is called Niyama. There are also five Niyama, which are the rules of conduct in regards to self discipline for self-purification.

The first of the five Niyama is Saucha which translates as cleanliness, and purity of body for good health and well-being. This is more than just bathing your body and brushing your teeth, and even more than washing the fruit you eat and keeping a clean house. It includes the work you do to purify the cells of the body, such as with healthy exercise and breathing clean air.

I love Iyengar’s statement on asana practice:  it is like power-washing the cells of the body. Asana (yoga poses) cleans out the sticky goo of toxins stuck in our bodies, clearing out the adhesions in the muscles and soft tissue that is literally preventing the flow of prana (life force). Then pranayama (breath practice) infuses the body with prana, permeating the body with oxygen and the energy needed to heal and perform at optimum.

Saucha is that nice feeling you get after cleaning your house. Saucha is mental too, when you decide to read an uplifting book instead of watch a violent or negative TV show. Saucha in your speech is watching your tongue, avoiding gossip or profanity, and the warm, fuzzy feeling of giving a compliment instead of a harsh criticism.

Yes. Clean your body and eat clean food, free of pesticides and hormones and hydrogenated fats and genetically modified fake foodstuffs. Keep a clean environment in which to live, and a clean mouth that has a filter on your speech. Then notice the effect all of that clean living has on your inner peace and your sense of serenity. This is the practice of Saucha.

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