Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Class #3 - Saucha/Purity

Hi class,

This week we will learn about the discipline Saucha (Purity/Cleanliness)

Saucha - Purity and cleanliness of mind, body, spirit, and environment. We practice this discipline by continually asking ourselves if we are cleansing or soiling our body, mind, spirit, or environment.

We cleanse and are non-harming by making:
- Better food choices
- Better use of our breath (pranayama – extension and
regulation of the breath)
- Choosing asanas (postures) and/or modifications that are
beneficial to us at the present moment.
- Better choice of activities
- Better choice of those we associate with
- Better organized and clean personal space
- Better choices about our 'SELF', mind/body/spirit
- Better choices about our environment at every level

Saucha: Purity

"Purity of the body is essential for well being.
While good habits like bathing purify the external
body. Asana (Yoga postures) and
Pranayama (yoga breathing practices) cleanse it internally.
The practice of Asanas (yoga postures) tones the
entire body and removes toxins and impurities
caused by over-indulgence. Pranayama cleanses
and aerates the lungs, oxygenates the blood,
and purifies the nerves. Cleansing of the mind
through Svadhyaya (self-study) helps to keep the mind clear
from disturbing emotions like hatred, delusion, and pride.

With concentration, one obtains mastery over
the senses. This internal cleansing brings
radiance and joy. It banishes mental pain,
dejection, sorrow, and despair and brings
benevolence. When one is benevolent, one
sees the virtues in others and not merely
their faults. The respect which one shows
others makes him self respecting and able to
fight their own sorrows and differences.
This makes one ready to enter the temple of
body and see their real self in the mirror
of their mind.

Besides purity of the body, thought,
and word, pure food is also necessary. It
should be eaten to promote health, strength,
energy, and life. It should be simple,
nourishing, juicy, and soothing. Men are the
only creatures that eat when not hungry and
generally live to eat rather than eat to live.
If we eat for flavors of the tongue, we over-eat
and so suffer from digestive disorders which
throw our systems out of gear. The yogi
(a student of yoga), believes in harmony,
so they try to eat for the sake of sustaining
health and life. They try not to eat too much
or too little. They look upon their body as
the rest-house of their spirit, and guard
themselves against over-indulgence."

"Remember, if you do not take care
of your body, where will you live?"

(taken from B.K.S. Iyengar, 'Light on Yoga)

In our asana practice we strive to bring purity
and strength by practicing the asanas. We treat
our bodies with repect by keeping in tuned to
what it needs.

This week see how you can use the practice of Saucha to bring a better respect to your whole self: Mind/Body/Spirit. See how you eat, what you eat, and where you eat can have an effect on your energy, health, and even your attitude. Another aspect to pay attention to is your activities. How does what you do make you feel. Movies and TV you watch, parties you attend, people you associate with in all aspects of your life.

I’m not asking you to change anything, just pay attention. Slow down enough that you learn something about yourself (Svadhyaya: self-study). Write about your experience.

'Be sober and temperate; you will be healthy.
Bask in the sun; Spend time in the open air.
The sun and the open air are your good doctor.
Let your food be simple.
Never eat too much, but don't eat too little.
Take sufficient exercise.
Become your own physician.
~Swami Sivananda~