The first of the five observances, Niyamas, is Self-Purification or Saucha. Saucha means purification; cleanliness. This self-purification or cleansing involves the body and the mind.
Today, cleanliness is exaggerated due to Covid 19. It’s like living in a sci-fi movie. When you are ill, you may lay in bed a few days without attending to your daily hygiene. We can’t wait to feel better and jump (or walk carefully) into the shower and feel like “yourself again.”
This speaks to your mental and emotional health? When we look better, we feel better. There are also those roaming minds that keep us awake at night. Mark Twain is credited with this quote: “I’m a very old man and have suffered a great many misfortunes, most of which never happened.”
Many of us live in our minds and imaginations. We worry about what may happen and what did not. The moment has passed! Wasting time on what was and what will be is a waste of our energy.
I have been taught and I believe that we are our own doctors first! It is up to us to manage our gut, heart, and brain which are key to samadhi; the Hindu final stage of bliss and union with the divine.
- The neti pot for nasal cleansing. I use this religiously through allergy seasons.
- Candle Gazing
- Diaphragmatic Breath
- Tongue scraping
- Eating healthy
- Reading spiritual texts and reading up on all that is mentioned here.
This is YOUR practice. Check out everything and you decide what is best for you.
Today, we are wearing masks and keeping our distance from family and friends to keep Covid 19 away. How depressing this year has been for many. Keeping our mind active is a life saver. There are many things we have had to adjust in our lives. We did it! We are amazing. Pat yourself on your back. Go ahead! I’ll wait.
In Ayurvedic medicine it is believed that some foods remain in our system creating disease. The Ayurvedic diet is based on the principles of Ayurvedic medicine which focuses on preventing disease. There are many articles available online for you to check out so you may decide what is best for you. Here is one I found informative: https://www.ayurveda.com/resources/articles/ayurveda-a-brief-introduction-and-guide
Journaling, knowing yourself, allows you to purify your thoughts, your speech, your words. Ahimsa, being kind to yourself and others. Keep a gratitude journal when negative thoughts come into play. Stay present for your practice. Seek therapy if you feel overwhelmed during these trying times. Join a yoga class online. Visit the Himalayan Institute for a retreat or take a course or two. Take time for you.
Tapas (the stick-to-it attitude) that nudges us awake each day to prepare ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally. Maybe you pray or meditate. Maybe you stretch or check out a yoga class. Reading an uplifting book before your children wake or preparing dinner in a crock pot. Asanas show us how strong we are and meditation helps clear our minds to receive enlightenment. We prepare clean foods so we can take care of ourselves BEFORE we get sick. Walking on an elliptical (there are so many exercise tools for practically nothing on Facebook Marketplace or at a Saturday yard sale.)
Go to your doctor for a physical before starting any program.
Most of all, we take it easy on ourselves and this love spreads to those around us.
“Let others take care of their responsibilities and I will take care of mine.” My life saving quote. Don’t look to others to make you happy or whole. Know your boundaries. Be kind. Look inside to your divine being who is waiting there for you to discover your beauty.
It is up to you to develop your plan of self-care. Check out all that is available to you and be good to yourself. Saucha!
Check out these two books and have a wonderful week! My Yogic Path, Barbara
pages 104 to 1170
Week 1 “This week notice where your body is sluggish…Purify yourself through diet and exercise… and the space around you…sluggishness becomes lighter as you purify.”
“Purity asks that we make full and honest contact with the moment so there is nothing lost and no regrets.” p114
Saucha has been called the aim of the entire system of yoga. “The sages say that saucha is not only the foundation for bodily health, it is also the doorway to deeper and more tranquil states of meditation.” How to practice yoga is embodied in this text.