Love The Mud- Saucha
I love how Helen Avery takes a look at it. There are many ways to interprete this Niyama and this was the one way that really got me to understand it.
"Herein lies the paradox of saucha. In our desire to achieve purification of the body, we have to become deeply intimate with the parts of it that we do not love—the things we would usually turn away from—sweat, bile, mucus, and fecal matter. What we discover in our path of physical purification, is that, without these so-called impurities, our bodies would not be able to cleanse themselves or function. Our chances at awakening would be zero. In the words of Thich Nhat Hanh: “No mud… No lotus.”
"The peacock’s tail feathers become brighter through digesting poisons. The lotus becomes more luminous the deeper the mud from which it springs."
"The real gift of saucha is the purification of our minds. It is our grand teacher of self-love, for it asks us to place our judgments aside, and take a deeper look at everything we have labeled as ‘impure’ about ourselves." ~Wanderlust.com
Saucha, the first of the Niyamas, and the second limb of Patanjali's eight limbed-path of yoga; teaches us to have a responsibility for our own self-care, knowing when to take heed of what the body needs at that moment. Through yoga; practicing mindfulness and asana, we are more attuned to what form of purification is needed.
Speaking from my own life. I get up seriously 4-5 times a night to go pee. My habits or crutches are to wake up and have a cup of coffee and have a glass of wine before bed. It's hard to listen to your body when you are so attached to what it is that you should step away from for awhile. Wine and coffee are both diuretics which means they cause you to go more often. My kidneys and bladder are screaming at me to take pause and give myself a good detox/break. I'm listening.
My goal starting with a week and maybe continuing, is to give up both. I'm replacing my morning coffee with a warm glass of lemon water with raw honey and ginger. My glass of wine at night will be replaced with a restorative yoga practice. I'm also going to practice lots of asanas that deal with twist, meditate with hands in lotus mudra, and a focus on peacock pose to help with detoxing the digestive track.
Mentally I'm working on loving every part of myself, especially the "muddy parts". I don't know where I got this "I need to be a perfect person" from, but I have a past and I'm not the only one. Big Sigh. It should not be a struggle everyday to force positive thoughts into my mind. My struggle is where I'm going wrong. I need to surrender and observe lovingly, even the negative parts of my personality... thoughts and all.
That's it... personality. My personality does not define me, nor does my past. We are all pure souls and each one of us has negative or muddy tendencies that we need to learn to love. Those muddy tendencies are what will produce and bloom the most beautiful lotus flower, which we all possess. So let's all bloom together, knowing we are all in this with each other, not one better than the other.
How To Apply Saucha To Your Life
Lovingly observe the "muddy parts" of you...
Focus on twist asanas with the intention of wringing out any impurities in your body organs. Intention is everything.
Get organized and do some spring cleaning.
Practice some self care practices at home: Maybe an epson salt bath or some deep breathing.