Second Limb. First Part.
Saucha means cleanliness, both external and internal. Let's start with our outsides. Why are we instructed to keep external cleanliness. Why is cleanliness important? Though it may seem too physical a commandment for yoga, always remember that all the Yamas and Niyamas are there to help us achieve the stilling of the mind. Anyone who's ever tried to get work done in a cluttered room, knows the power of cleanliness for creating clarity of mind. I know I and many of my friends will clean up our apartments before sitting down to write an email or take care of an important task. Our EXTERNAL environment affects our internal world and ability to concentrate. This is reason to keep our space clean. If you are not sure if that is true for you, remember that every feeling we register consciously is also occurring at those times we don't make the feeling conscious.
Keep your environment clean and POSITIVE to keep your energy the same. That means WATCH what you WATCH. I simply can not watch that zombie show as great as it may be, because I know it isn't helping me energetically. (AGHH! The downfall of being aware!) LISTEN to what you LISTEN to. Would you play it for your child? If not, think about if you want those sounds vibrating in your being. We may not be able to control all the intrusions we face as we venture out into the world (especially in NYC), but we can at least keep our homes clean and positive.
Wash your hands people! Clean outer body is a part of practicing Saucha. Hand washing is really the keystone of this. Our hands serve as our tools and our connection to the world. We handshake, high five, pray, with our hands. Wash them often, especially after interaction with anyone negative and before prayer. It will put you in a different state. Honoring the body enough to keep it clean is mandated and important.
I say this loudly because there is a WORLD of spirituality out there right now that does not honor the BODY.... They are getting it WRONG. Your body is real. You are real. This experience IS happening. Be good to your body. Keep it clean. Don't obsess. Do be aware.
INTERNAL CLEANLINESS.... Are you clean inside...? This starts with our internal bodies... Are we ingesting foods or drinks that harm our organs, blood, what about our mental state? You got it... Go! I thought I'd post this on the holidays to give you that heads up. Everything we ingest either helps us feel healthy and clear
or takes us away from that feeling. There are lots of studies on white sugar, caffeine, and alcohol we know changes our mental state. ALL foods and drinks do. Get subtle and keep a journal. Leftovers, processed foods, greens, each type of food is mood and mind changing.
Each one of us is different. See what that is for YOU!
Maintain internal cleanliness means cleanliness of mind. Your foods will help your THOUGHTS which of course is what this yoga is all about. Practicing Saucha means keeping our thoughts clean. Practice means becoming aware. As you become more aware and bring more cleanliness into your world, your thoughts too will change. When your thoughts, words, and actions are FREE from harm, discontent, and all the other YAMAS, you have achieved Saucha.
I could not be happier that our Saucha challenge occurs as we head into holiday season. This is a great time to be mindful of our internal and external cleanliness. Starting December 1st and for the whole month of December, post pictures which represent your thoughts on Saucha on INSTAGRAM and tag us at @landyoganyc with the hashtag #alleightlimbs. Winner will receive a beautiful mala from The Easier Softer Way. Happy Holidays! Can't wait to see what you come up with!