Santosha

SAUCHA

Purity, cleanliness, holiness or sacredness. Saucha means purity of the external – our bodies and surroundings, and internal -purity of the mind . Releasing the obstacles that prevent us from recognizing our inherent Divinity. By practicing cleanliness of body and orderliness of surroundings, we become predisposed toward inner cleanliness, simplicity of mind, and eventual identity with our Source.

Affirmation: I am pure. I am innocent. I am divine

In Sanskrit the word “saucha” means “purity”,”cleanliness”,”holiness”, and “sacredness”. There are two types of purity; external or physical, and internal or mental. Physical purification or cleanliness of our bodies and surroundings, sanctifies our bodies, hearts and minds. Internal purification is impacted by physical purification and by the practices of meditative awareness and self observation.

Applications of saucha on the physical level include; bodily cleanliness, orderliness of our surroundings, proper diet, and hatha yoga. It is interesting to note that the word saucha means not just purity, but sacredness or holiness. With this in mind the disciplines of purification become an act of devotion or a way of loving, respecting and taking care of ourselves. Saucha is not an imposed discipline or a rule we must obey. It is practiced from a place of understanding the impact our surroundings, physical health, actions and attitudes have on how we feel and therefore how we experience the world.

The purpose of hatha yoga practices is to purify the physical body which effects the more subtle energetic, mental and emotional bodies. The physical exercises of asana and pranayama as are integral in the purification process. Regular hatha yoga practice combined with proper diet and simplified orderly living, initiate saucha on the internal level.

“Not only is exercise an important approach to yoga, but it is the very foundation of yoga. Only one who loves good health can love yoga.” -Bapuji

The internal aspect of saucha focuses on awareness of our thoughts and attitudes,especially our habit of indulging in negative thinking such as: judgments, comparisons, and criticisms, or self defeating perceptions and emotions.

“If you realized the impact of self destructive thoughts, you’d let them go.” -Gurudev

Bapuji says, ” The mind is an ocean of thoughts. It has a greater chance to evolve if it contains more positive thoughts than negative, and it has a greater chance to deteriorate if it contains more negative thoughts than positive.” To purify the mind we must continuously analyze our thoughts with non judgmental awareness. “Without self analysis we cannot discover our vices and virtues. Clear awareness of our virtues and vices increases our love for virtue and decreases the influence of our personal limitations.”

In Amrit Yoga we practice saucha on the physical level as an entry point into the more subtle mental level. The awareness of saucha is something we can practice both on and off the yoga mat. As we purify our bodies, minds and hearts through saucha, we become aware of the impact of our thoughts on ourselves and in our personal relationships. Our intention is to bring our thinking into alignment with our highest potential, not by suppression or denial, but by acceptance, trust and faith. To awaken to our inborn divinity we must continually let go of that which we are not. Saucha happens when we are the witness. As we cease to nourish our thoughts by identifying with them, fighting with them, or denying or suppressing them they die of starvation. We are left with the awareness of our inherent innocence, purity and oneness with the Source.

“By purification arises disgust for one’s own body and for contact with other bodies.”
-II:40 Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.

Here Patanjali is saying that “When we spend more time on deeper things than the body, and eventually go into spiritual matters, realizing we are the true Self and not the body at all, we will not be interested in bringing two bodies together any more.”

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