“The state of your surroundings tells the condition of your soul.” - unknown
Shaucha/Saucha is the first of the five niyamas [personal observances], which form the second limb of yoga as described in "The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali." The term literally means purity, cleanliness and clearness. It refers to purity of mind, speech and body.
The habits we pick up throughout life off the mat may or may not serve us, and the idea of our practice is to recognise what doesn’t help us and what does, coming towards a state in which everything we do aids us towards being happier, healthier and more awake and aware in life. If we take our ‘bad’ habits on to the mat with us, then our practice becomes a lot harder, we have to sift through the ‘impurities’ or negativity we’ve picked up before reaping the benefits of Yoga.
Impurities we try to shed can be mental & physical. Practicing cleanliness of body, mind, spirit and surroundings will help direct us towards a pure and positive life.
Some ways to "cleanse":
Neti - nasal cleansing
Dhauti - cleansing of digestive tract
Nauli - abdominal massage
Bhasti - colon cleansing
Kappalabhati - breath of fire
Our environment can reflect our state of mind. You’ll probably identify with the fact that when our bedrooms or homes are messy, our minds can often feel a little messy and cluttered too.
When we’re surrounded by a clean environment however, with clear surfaces, possessions that we need – and not possessions we’ve hoarded over the years and can’t bear to get rid of – and the sense of having space to breathe, then we’re likely to feel a whole lot better and clearer in our minds.
Not only does having a clean place to practice in, and a clean mat to practise on feel good, it shows a sign of respect towards our practice.
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