The Niyamas in Practice: Sauca to Soothe


It has been a long week of training out of town, traveling back and forth each day, and it has been a truly wonderful experience to learn and practice with other healers. Taking a quick detour to the supermarket before heading home I bump into a colleague who has just entered the store with her young daughter. As we catch up with happenings, I notice the young lady eagerly cleaning the shopping cart with one of those little white antiseptic cloths, having the time of her life. Of course, the monkey mind wants to know why I was blessed with two boys who have absolutely no concept of what it means to clean up after yourself and countless hours of my life spent asking for socks and wet towels to be pick-up off the floor.

Sauchat sva-anga jugupsa paraih asamsargah
Through cleanliness and purity of body and mind (shaucha), one develops an attitude of distancing, or disinterest towards one’s own body, and becomes disinclined towards contacting the bodies of others.
— 2.40 Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

So the last two weeks have been spent working with Sauca, the first of five Niyamas, the inward practices of the 8-limb path of yoga. Patanjali's two sutras on the subject hold nothing back. The first of these 2.40 asks us to maintain purity of the mind and body, and in doing so we begin to distance ourselves from other who are not also practicing cleanliness.

Sattva shuddhi saumanasya ekagra indriya-jaya atma darshana yogyatvani cha
Also through cleanliness and purity of body and mind (shaucha) comes a purification of the subtle mental essence (sattva), a pleasantness, goodness and gladness of feeling, a one-pointedness with intentness, the conquest or mastery over the senses, and a fitness, qualification, or capability for self-realization.
— 2.41 Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

The second, 2.41 offers up purpose for maintaining as state of internal purity, we are able to release tension from the mind and body perhaps by not contaminating ourselves with the negative energy fields of others who are not practicing Sauca. 

Back to this young lady who was being mindful not only of working to keep the shopping cart clean, she was also being very respectful of allowing her mother time to spend in friendly conversation with another, she had found contentment on the inside by connecting to the outside.

So, I'm sure that all reading this understand the purpose of keeping a clean home and work environment, but how to you practice Sauca, cleaning from the inside? Yoga practice and teaching the last two weeks has centered on connecting to various aspect of our physical, energetic, emotional and mental cleaning. Below are a few ideas to get you going (not just to the bathroom...):

Emotional Cleaning: Try some Emotional Freedom Technique, a simple tapping method. Can be done easily when you are feeling a heavy emotional burden. Breath of Joy is a must, use a LOUD "HA" to release tension from your day or what ever is dragging you down. This breath will invigorate and you will be smiling when you are finished and feel invigorated! Another great pranayama practice which I love is Bhramari, Bumble Bee Breath, it is like that cleansing cloth for the mind!

Using meditation practices and sound healing will also help free up the clutter on the inside. A lot more to follow on the use of Himalayian singing bowls for vibrational therapy.

Sinus Cleaning: Try a neti pot, my favorite dinacharya practice by far, and some accupressure points.

Lymphatic System: Stimulate lymph nodes under the arm pits and at the hip creases and encourage movement with some energetic arms. Three options we worked wore: arms reaching to the ceiling and out to a "V", energetically pulling in one elbow to the side of the ribs as a time, inhaling as the arm reaches up and exhaling as each arm taps the side body; try two arms at once, same breath pattern; try elbows bent by your sides, palms facing up as if you are holding whatever crap you what to let go of in your hands, take an inhale and exhale as you throw it over you shoulders behind you. Try each breath pattern for one minute or so.

Supported Saddle pose to help lengthen not only the quads and posas, but invite opening in the ascending and descending colon.

Supported Saddle pose to help lengthen not only the quads and posas, but invite opening in the ascending and descending colon.

Digestion: Consider reclined Saddle pose followed by knees to chest and other asana postures with twists.

Another posture to help stimulate Samana vayu would be child's pose with the rolled up yoga blanket at the belly. 

From standing, separate the legs about mat distance apart and work about 7-10 circles of the hips and torso in one direction then switch.

Working to compress the transverse colon

Working to compress the transverse colon

Consider researching other cleansing practices to help stimulate internal cleaning for the liver, spleen, kidneys.There are many poses and sequences that will help guide you and are easily found through traditional asanas and the Yin Yoga practice.

Just be mindful of your body with any of this work, know WHY you need to clean WHAT, find the INTENTION. Move within your limits, please ALWAYS speak with a medical professional if you have ANY concerns regarding you physical, mental or emotional states.

Live life clean on the inside and the outside, seek to understand inner and outer balance not only in your life, your body but with your relationships.

~Peace and Blessings