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Yoga Philosophy:

Practicing Saucha (Purity) for Spring!

Saucha is the first of the Niyamas or personal code of ethics from Yoga Philosophy. The Niyamas introduce us to ways of practicing Yoga off our mats. In fact, the poses in Yoga (Asana) are only 1/8 of the overall practice according to the 8 Limbs of Yoga in The Sutras of Patanjali, one of the oldest known books on Yoga Philosophy. Saucha translates to purity or cleanliness and in exploring this path, we find ways to purify our lives or ourselves for the better: physically, our thoughts, or our environment.

 

Physically we can look at personal hygiene, or also purifying the body. This could be through rigorous cleansing practices. It could be as simple as eating healthy food or trying to adjust our diet to one that is focused on local or organic foods. It could be the surge of adrenaline or flow we experience during a great run, or a Hot Yoga class.

 

In looking at the space around us, it’s amazing how clutter and excess stuff slows us down. Do yourself a big favour and clean out your closets. How long do you spend in the morning deciding what to wear because you can’t actually see all your clothes? Or digging around in your fridge only to discover three bottles of the exact same hot sauce, or the peppers you were going to use for dinner, now rotted?

 

So we can clean our physical space, but also let’s notice how often we fill our heads with negative self-talk, pushing judgment on ourselves, and others.  What does that really accomplish? Negativity fuels more negativity, in thought and speech; however positivity fuels positivity. Practicing Saucha, focusing on the positive and letting go of judgment helps us de-clutter our minds, bringing clarity and renewed energy and therefore space for our own version of spring flowers, new growth and optimism.

 

This week, try to notice your thoughts. Notice how often we fill our heads with negative self-talk, or negativity towards those around us.  What does that really accomplish? Except to push us into a negative mood. If we are unhappy with ourselves, what can we do to change this? If we are tired all the time, are we getting enough sleep or eating properly? If we are unhappy with our appearance, are we exercising regularly or being unfair? Would you speak to your best friend the way you speak to yourself?

 

Practicing Saucha in spring is a natural for most of us with the desire for spring-cleaning, de-cluttering our homes and cleaning up our yards after winter to make space for spring flowers. This is exactly how Saucha works from a mindful and spiritual practice as well. Clearing space, cleaning or purifying our environment to release the past, to let go of negativity and more importantly to create space for growth. Thinking about how good we feel after tackling our overflowing closets, let’s apply that to all areas of our life.

 

Lisa Greenbaum, E-RYT 500 is a YogaFit Senior Master Trainer, International Presenter and avid writer. She is the Director of YogaFit Canada, the leader in Mind-Body Education, www.yogafitcanada.com she currently teaches Yoga in Toronto.