Niyamas describe the five qualities arising from an authentic and balanced life style.
- Saucha: Cleanliness
- Santosha: Contentment
- Tapas: Austerity
- Svadhaya: Self-study
- Isvarapranidhana: Surrender to God
The practice of Saucha refers to complete purity, internally and externally. Purity refers to choosing a positive path for mind, body and soul. In achieving this, Patanjali believed that our mind would be freed, allowing the light of the Divine to shine through.
“When perfect cleanliness is obtained, there arises a sense of detachment and transcendence from the physical body”Patanjali – Yoga Sutras 2:40
Saucha can be interpreted in many ways; purity of the body (annamaya kosha), keeping the nadis open and energy flowing easily (pranamaya kosha), striving for purity of thought (manamaya kosha), and applying purity to our beliefs, not allowing them to be tainted and affect our consciousness. We can also discuss saucha in terms of our motivations and actions.
On a physical level, practicing saucha means ensuring a good diet and that we exercise regularly, keeping our bodies healthy. Caring for our body on this level helps us to eliminate toxins, creates a strong immune system, and creates more energy. Our dietary choices have a strong effect here – regularly drinking alcohol, eating heavy meat laden meals, will slow our bodies and block the flow of energy.
On a mental level, meditation is the best practice of saucha. Mindful living and meditation help to calm our minds, purifying thought and helping us to see the truth in situations.
How to Practice:
- Avoid excessive use of stimulants and intoxicant
- Practice yogic purifying techniques
- Meditate regularly and approach the Divine with a pure heart
- Discriminate and participate in regular satsang (fellowship of truth)
- Keep a clean environment