Saucha – Cleaning in Yoga – Part I
In yoga, cleanliness is called saucha and it is very important on the path of yoga. I hope this article helps explain the reason for its importance.
Why did he jump? Patanjali places saucha as the first niyama, the first step towards self-exploration. Why would Patanjali attach such importance to cleanliness? Saucha is the basis of niyama, or personal discipline. The reason is energy. When the body is dirty, it clings to the energy of the past.
When clothes are dirty, they hold on to the energy of the past. When the house is dirty, it is also holding on to past energies. It is like a weight that carries the house. I’m sure you’ve found that when you’ve just cleaned the whole house, vacuumed, cobwebbed, changed the sheets, it feels lighter, it feels brighter, it feels more alive. That is because you have removed a layer of the past. So, instructing students to be clean is instructing them to remove layers of the past and move into the present. To be cleaner is to become lighter, brighter, shedding a layer of yesterday and becoming more present in the moment.
In addition, saucha improves sensitivity-sensitivity to your own body odor and sensitivity to negative feelings that dirt brings. These gross sensitivities must be cultivated for the later branches of yoga that require extreme sensitivity.
We often hear the argument that we shouldn’t obsess over dirt, because dirt is also God. Although obsession with anything is anti-yogic and dirt of course has God in it, everything in the universe has its place. We would not try to wash our bodies with cow dung, although cow dung is God, because our skin is not the proper place for cow dung to be. In the same way, the proper place for dirt is not in the house or on the body.
First comes the cleansing of the physical body. That is, take a shower, make sure the body does not have an odor. No dirt under the nails. Clean hair. It all starts with the body. Number one is the body. Number two is clothing, what touches the body. Do not wear the same clothing twice if it has been worn for a long period of time. Wash clothes constantly. Use clean towels to wipe the body after showering.
Then comes that in which the body and the clothes are, which are the house and the car. One of the elements of a clean house is not wearing shoes inside it. The reason for this is to maintain the sanctity of the home. Shoes bring the energy of the outside world into our home. Another element of a clean home is to rinse our hands immediately upon entering the house to cleanse the energy of the outside world. By doing these two things, you will find that the house begins to generate its own energy, which is a reflection of your cleaner energy, rather than being a dilution of the energies of the outside world. Otherwise, these energies from the outside world come in and out, thus diluting your own energy when you are in the house.