Spring is a perfect time to be talking about Saucha – an element of yoga philosophy that looks at cleanliness & purity. Saucha translates to cleanliness in a literal and physical way – but also in an energetic and mindful way. It is reminding us to practice cleanliness wherever we can as everything around us has an impact on our body, mind and spirit.
Saucha asks us to eat a clean and wholesome diet. It always perplexes me how people are so conscious of the fuel the put into their car, the products they put on their car but have no regard for their body. Or people are concerned about the over the counter drugs people take (which the awareness is a great start) but don’t think twice about the food they put into their body EVERY DAY, or the products (makeup, soap, toothpaste) they use EVERYDAY! Saucha is asking us to fuel our body with clean and healthy food – and LOADS of water.
Saucha also applies to the mind. In our society we often have lots of – if not continuous- chatter in the mind. The further into the practice you delve the more this will start to slow. But in the meantime Saucha is asking us to keep our thoughts and words clean and pure. The Dalai Lamas quote applies here “Speak only if it is true, kind and necessary.’ Pretty hard to practice as you really won’t have much to say at all!
In many traditions we are taught that our environment reflects and/or impacts our mind and emotions. Feng Shui is based on this alone. Have you ever noticed that when you are stressed often there is mess around you – whether at your desk or at home? Or that sense of peace you have when you get home to a clean and tidy house – it feels relaxing! Or the impact having natural light creates to a space, or the angle of your furniture.
Cleanliness is part of the Yoga practice to help people realize that there actions, environments, fuel, thoughts, mind and more all impact their energy. The more we focus on cleaning up our act the more the mind starts to still and the body starts to heal.
On the mat and @ the studio
1. Try to be clean, fresh for class and well hydrated. Wear deodorant, clean clothes, etc. Walking into a stinky room is not pleasant for anyone.
2. Keep the yoga studio space clean and fresh – Place your props away neatly. Don’t bring excess belongings into the studio space.
3. Align your mats in an organized and clean way – this will help the energy of the class. Everyone knows how amazing it feels when the whole class flows and moves together.
4. Wipe down your mats thoroughly. If it is drenched in sweat hang it out to dry.
5. Bring your awareness to your breath (and using 100% of your lung capacity – cleaning and detoxing your body) and your mind – dropping the chatter – cleaning your mind.
Off the mat
1. Eat a clean and wholesome diet. Real food doesn’t have packaging. Nor does it have an ingredients list. Try to limit yourself to whole food, and if you find yourself eating packaged food – go for the ones with 4 or less ingredients and only ingredients you know… no big fancy words, or strange numbers. You don’t need that rubbish. One of the great things is that the cleaner your diet the less smelly your BO! YAY for all of us doing hot yoga ;) On a more serious note I can almost guarantee that the cleaner your diet the more stable your mind and emotions will be. EVERYONE reacts to food. All you need to do is watch a child after eating MSG filled take away, or too much ice cream to see this.
2. DRINK WATER!!!! I think we all forget to drink water sometimes. I am def guilty of this in winter! 40ml per kilo you weigh is a great start. More if you exercise lots, do hot yoga, or drink tea/coffee.
3. CLEAN YOUR SPACE - Try to keep your living area free of clutter and dirt. Take the time to mindfully create space. (I really need to focus on this!). Also watch how you treat this earth, reduce pollution wherever you can.
4. CLEAN YOUR MIND: Watch your thoughts. If you see they are a little dirty (aka negative) consciously replace with a positive thought. See if you can pause before you speak and only speak if ‘it is true, kind & necessary’. Additionally CLEARING your mind should be an intention here. Journal writing is amazing for getting those thoughts that keep circling around in your head out of your head. Try it and watch the peace and space you create.
5. BREATH: Our breath is a great detoxification tool. See if every morning you can wake up. Hang upside down in Downdog or rag doll and take 9 big breaths focusing on the exhalation and trying to move all the stagnant air out.
6. MAINTAIN YOUR BODY: Lots of people are great at servicing their cars when they need to, cleaning their cars etc. But what about your body? Being reactive to issues in your body is costly and damaging. Just like your car. If you heard a rattle in your car, you would get it looked at. If you ignore it, before too long the cost of fixing it could be huge!!! You should think about your body the same way. Its better to maintain its health (like checking oil and water) regularly than ignoring it and dealing with serious injuries or chronic issues that will take along time to unravel. Below is a list of things you can do to maintain the health of your body:
a. Monthly Massage –having a massage once a month is a great way to keep your body functioning at optimal level and preventing injuries. We have two great Massage Therapists at the Green Room
b. Oil Pulling is great first thing in the morning as a detox
c. Dry brushing is great for cleaning the skin
d. Epsom Salt bath – great for relaxing muscles and detoxing skin
e. Meditation – stills the mind, reduces stress which has a massive impact on your body.
f. Neti Pot – to clean your sinuses – great for hayfever
g. And whatever works for you! Pending on your body, your lifestyle you probably know what you need to do to look after your body. Do you do it??
7. MOVE YOUR BODY! Your body is designed to move. Exercise every day - even if its a light walk around a few blocks. And of course practice yoga asana when you can as it helps to purify the body & mind.
Observe your life.
Increase your awareness.
Grow your consciousness.
KORINNE McNEILL: Yoga is life for Korinne. Creator of the Green Room Korinne is grateful everyday that she gets to share her passion with others.