Sometimes I need to forget and move on. It might help me right now to wash away some negative thoughts and feelings. This is sauca, which is the first of the niyamas found in the Yoga-sutras. Sauca is the cleanliness and purity of your body, your environment, and your mind. Sauca is also the purity of your words and actions.

I keep my body clean in the following ways:

  • brushing my teeth and flossing
  • dry-brushing to remove dead skin
  • taking a shower or a bath every day
  • washing my hands after touching something dirty
  • cutting my fingernails
  • brushing my hair every day
  • eating a diet that is mostly unprocessed foods and high in green vegetables
  • drinking pure water and herbal tea

Tension can be a form of clutter in the body. I use the following to clear away this type of clutter:

  • asana (yoga postures)
  • yoga tune up balls, or a tennis balls for self-massage
  • pranayama
  • yoga nidra
  • massage
  • osteopathy

In her book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, you can learn how to keep your home tidy. A tip from the book is to spend a moment with the objects in your home; with each object, ask yourself if it sparks joy. Anything that is not useful or sparking joy may be something that you will benefit from parting with. As a result, you may notice you are shopping less. Why would you continue shopping for things? Many things are just clutter; clutter does not truly spark joy.

Recently I had a confrontation with a co-worker. I became angry with him and said some things that I now regret saying. I know that in order to improve my behaviour in the future, I need to first forgive myself and him. I need to stop reliving the memory of my emotional outburst. I need to remember my mission at work. I want to be someone who has values, someone who works hard, but I also want to be someone who does not cause others pain.

Image found on Flickr – Tar Sands Blockade

We also practice sauca by considering the care of the planet earth, by choosing ways to live that do not damage lands and waters. Sometimes we may need to become more active politically to help stop the damage that is being done by our governments and industry.

Sauca is practicing hygiene with our bodies. Sauca is the clarification of our minds and words. Sauca is the care of our home and the natural world. Living with purity at the core of our lives can be very restorative and energizing. It can help us feel like each new day is a fresh start.

Proofread by Leona B. Hunt, BA, proofreader