With this we have now left the five yamas, and take the plunge into the five niyamas. As a reminder or summary if you so will, one can say that the yamas are “restraints”, or ethical practices, while the niyamas are “observances” or daily practices.
Saucha invites us to purify our bodies, our thoughts,
and our words.
Through the purification, both the physical and the mental, we become less heavy, and less burdened. As we purify ourselves from toxins, distractions, illusions, and clutter, we are more able to become pure in our relationship with each moment.
How to become pure? How do we purify ourselves? The short answer is that the steps to cleanse and purify ourselves will look different to each and every one of us. There are numerous ways to “purify the body”. It doesn’t have to be particularly complicated or weird.
Whatever form the purification takes, it always begins with an intention to “lighten the load” that we are carrying.
The guideline of purity invites us to move into ease, to do what it takes to get rid of this heaviness, wherever we find it in our lives. Clean your body; clean your mind; clean your living and work space.
It can be good to clarify that there is a difference between cleanliness and purification. Cleanliness is a process of scrubbing the outside of us, changing our outer appearance. The purification works on the inside. Changes our very essence!
Besides purifying our inside, this guideline also invites us to be pure with every moment, as it is. Not trying to change it, alter it, to have it meet our expectations, our desire or how it should, or should not be. But instead letting each and every moment, be exactly how it is.
Not only are we asked to be pure with each moment, but we are also asked to “gather ourselves together”. So often it is only “fragments” of ourselves that “do show up”. We are often mentally elsewhere. Either still stuck in where we´ve just come from, or already ahead of ourselves, in what will come next. Seldom are we completely present.
A former colleague of mine, years ago, put it perfectly nice and easy: “We should all just have our head, where our body is.” And indeed, it is as simply as that. Simple, but not always easy.
Purity asks that we make full and honest contact with the moment so there is nothing lost and no regrets. It requires all of our attention in the moment so that we can go on to the next thing with out full awareness and energy.