By David Rinaldi
Saucha is the first of the Niyamas from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and is usually translated as ‘Purity’ or ‘Cleanliness’. This can be one of the trickier Niyamas to nail down due to its subjective nature. What is pure? What is clean? How is this measured? This is especially true in Tantra, where all things are viewed as divine. If dirt and clutter are simply different forms of supreme consciousness, how can they be “bad” or “impure”?
Instead of trying to apply arbitrary universal rules of cleanliness and purity, it makes more sense to look within when contemplating Saucha. Rather than things being inherently “good” or “bad”, it’s more appropriate to look at how they affect each person individually.
During yoga and meditation, we are working to detoxify our system and this process goes much faster if we are careful about what we take in on a daily basis. This includes the environment that surrounds us – our home, our workspace, the people we surround ourselves with; our diet – what we eat, what we listen to, what media we consume, the conversations we take part in; and our thoughts – are we constantly thinking negative things about ourselves and others?
Saucha is about creating a sacred environment that supports your spiritual development. As you contemplate your home, your work space, the things you consume, and your thoughts; consider how you can make each one more sacred. Take baby steps. Make the intention to make one thing in your life more sacred every week and commit to keeping it that way. Take the time to observe the effects of each change and use those observations to encourage future changes.