The idea of living a life of purity used to bring to mind virgin angles sheltered from the world, untouched by the sometimes harsh experiences of life, or celibate sages living in far off ashrams or monasteries. In other words, not the reality most of us live in, and as such I didn’t really understand how to strive for it as the Yoga Sutras suggests we should.
But I’ve discovered a whole new meaning to purity in recent years as I’ve explored more deeply the meaning of Sauca.
Sauca, means purity or cleanliness, and is the first of the niyamas, or attitudes of a yogi as outlined by the Yoga Sutras.
The more I use yoga practice to read my life in terms of energy rather than stories or ideas, the more logical all of these practices become.
Energy, or Prana, is the stuff of life, and really all of our yoga practices aim to improve the flow of life-force into us and through us. As Darren John Main says, “Prana is the difference between a block of wood and a living tree. It is the difference between a corpse and a living body.”
I’ve learned through practicing yoga and studying Ayurveda that the most important question isn’t, “Is this good or bad?” but rather, “How is this effecting my prana?”
In this way we can make decision based on what’s best for us as individuals, not based on a list of should’s, and the more we do this the more we learn to trust and take care of ourselves.
So, from that perspective I’ve redefined purity and cleanliness, Sauca: anything that improves my intake and flow of life-force energy is pure; anything that depletes, blocks or stagnates my life-force energy is impure.
In my yoga lifestyle programs this week we’ve explored how Sauce based on this definition plays out in our lives. And how we can make Sauca a practice rather than simply an esoteric ideal.
We often hear people taking about practicing purity in how we eat and cleanliness of the body, but below you’ll find some of the less commonly looked at areas of our life that we’ve been practicing Sauca.
Practicing Purity of Place
If we’re surrounded by clutter and mess then the energy around us will be blocked and have a big impact on how we feel, think and act.
Today, simple take some time to clean up the space around you.
Even if you only have 10 minutes just clear out some small drawer or your wallet. If you have more time and energy go to town and get cleaning! Notice how your energy feels afterwards.
Practicing Purity of Speech
When our communication is unclear it means that the interactions surrounding that communication is not flowing optimally. Remember, think about everything in terms of energy and how it flows or stagnates.
We all know it feels so much better when we’re understood or when we’re understanding someone else clearly, and that when this isn’t happening there seem to be problems.
Today, simply remind yourself to speak from your highest self and deepest truth.
If you’re finding it hard to speak your truth take a moment to ask yourself, what is the limiting belief that stops me from communicating clearly? And, what is the deeper truth?
Practicing Purity of Thought
Our beliefs and thoughts are truly what create our lives.
Purity and cleanliness in thought means flowing and liberation of energy. The biggest way to stop the flow of energy is to have negative thoughts about yourself.
Unfortunately, this negative self talk also seems to be a universal trait of man kind. A lot of our modern culture actually perpetuates this negative self talk, particularly the advertising industry that plays on our feelings of inadequacy to sell us something we don’t need.
Today, let yourself hear the self limiting thought that is arising, acknowledge that there is a deeper truth beyond that self limiting though that will liberate your energy. Write that deeper truth down! Repeat it to yourself as much as you can!
How do you practice purity?