Saucha - The First of the Five Niyamas
What is Niyama?
Niyama means duties, rules, or observances. These observances are ideal for boosting our health. Habits are reliable because they are regular. Incorporating them into our lives can be beneficial.
In this post, we will understand the Saucha Niyama (cleansing). It is the first Niyama; it refers to the purity and cleanliness of the mind, body, and speech.
When we perform yoga for purity, we enter a tranquil state of mind, where all the anxiety and agitations remain still. It helps us observe the truth beyond the mental barriers we have created. When this happens, we become susceptible to experiencing peace and happiness.
We function better when we are joyous. However, it does not signify being deliberately oblivious to the world around us, overseeing the pain and suffering to be happy always. A kind and uplifted aura raises our presence, allowing us to make thoughtful decisions without judgments and attachments.
Did you know the power of silence? To some, it may feel like a part of negative energy. But it is not. Silence can be uncomfortable at times because it feels lonely, but it also gives us an opening to know ourselves.
Thoughtful silence is a tool that, if used well, can be beneficial because it allows us to reflect on the thoughts and feelings that make us uncomfortable and makes us able to handle them without reacting. In simple words, it is another form of self-control.
Let us start by calling cleanliness a way of physical purification. However, the physical body alone does not need cleaning but also the space around us.
A cluttered area makes us uncomfortable. Focusing on our practice is much easier when we feel at ease in our bodies and surroundings. We purify our bodies from the inside out by bathing, eating healthfully, and practicing asana and pranayama. We also maintain the practice area, keeping it clean and orderly. It shows respect and diligence for our practice and the purpose for which we do it.
Being straightforward entails keeping things simplified or, at the very least, keeping them from becoming overly complex. We frequently lose sight of our original intentions because we are so preoccupied with the small stuff in life. When we are direct, we say what has to be said, act as needed, and then leave things alone. There is no need to overthink, overexplain, or unintentionally cause mayhem to solve issues that don't exist.
In this usage, modesty refers to moderation. The extremes are detrimental to maintaining bodily purity, and we must learn to avoid them. We run the risk of hurting ourselves if we perform asanas to an extreme. Extreme dietary practices can harm your health. We might become less loving and more dogmatic even when we go to extremes in our spiritual practice. By being moderate, we imply that we approach our work with openness and humor. We prioritize our practice over our ego.
According to the Gita, ahimsa (non-violence) and physical purity go hand in hand. As a result, we become more conscious of how we use energy. We are harming ourselves if we are using our energy to cause harm to others. As yogis, we know our words, actions, and thoughts and use them to encourage and uplift people around us.
Words have power, whether they are written or spoken. The Gita warns us not to "perturb" people with our words. It may seem to put us in a difficult situation. After all, having difficult talks is an essential component of being human. If we want to avoid upsetting people, how can we conduct challenging conversations?
We can express ourselves strongly and forcefully without upsetting other people. It's unnecessary to say things merely to make other people feel good. Instead, we should speak with love; It can occasionally make other people uneasy. Speaking from a place of love entails accepting full accountability for our words. Nothing much, nothing less. It is up to other individuals how they respond to or react to us.
This verse encourages us to communicate more slowly. We must carefully consider our language to prevent intentional and unintended verbal weaponization. With so many methods to connect more rapidly through technology, it is too simple to say or write something inadvertently in an email or text that we could later regret. Purity of speech encourages us to consider our words before talking, texting, or tweeting them. We can practice saucha yoga to purify our overall presentation by learning calmness.