Saucha. The meaning in English is ‘Purity’. I think purity is quite a difficult topic to battle, because the word has often be used to chastise people for life choices that they make, or thoughts that they have. But that is in no way what Saucha is trying to do. I prefer to break this term down by saying that it is in fact about caring for your mental and physical well being. Which is something that we all 100 percent need to take charge of in whichever way we can right now.
Lets begin with mental purity. And before I delve into this, I would like to state that your thoughts DO NOT make you a bad person. After all, they are just thoughts. And the unpacking of them if yoga. It is totally natural to wish that a baby would stop crying on your train carriage, even when it’s not the parents fault.
And the line above was it.
‘It’s not the parents fault.’ That carries more compassion than ‘STOP CRYING’. And that is what Saucha, purity, in your thoughts is all about. ‘Purifying’ your mind by finding the thought that feels better. The one that is more positive, more loving. The thought that has less of a negative impact on you. Because ultimately, we are the only ones that can control our thoughts and feelings. These thoughts can begin to come more naturally with a regular yoga, meditation or mindfulness practice. Choosing the thought that feels better is easier said than done in the moment, but a mindfulness practice will also bring more awareness to the patterns of the brain, and you will begin to notice quicker when it is time to change that thought process.
And now for physical purity. I don’t necessarily agree with the conventional way of viewing purity in food. A relationship with food should be about the nutritional, nourishment and enjoyment value, whether that is nourishing your body or your mind. But the key is balance. Are you, on the whole, eating foods packed with naturally occurring vitamins and minerals? Immune boosting foods? Foods from the Earth that will serve your body, especially in the time we are in (whilst enjoying the occasional slice of cake, too). And it’s always important to remember that a nourishing diet looks different for different people. Purity in food is finding all of the above in your diet, from a natural source, or as close to natural as you can possibly get. And the way you eat affects your mental health too. More and more studies have been released showing that the health of your gut microbiome impacts your mental health significantly, and the gut is now being seen as the ‘second brain’ in the body.
Finding purity within your body and mind is not about punishing yourself for seemingly ‘unpure’ actions. It’s about looking after yourself. Something we all need to do a little more of right now.
I was reading the book ‘Yoga Anatomy’ by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews this week, and came across this glorious quote:
‘We don’t live to do yoga; We do yoga so that we may live – more easily, joyously and gracefully.’
Saucha is a really tangible element of yoga that can allow us to do just that.
Have a restful and nourishing weekend,
Photo taken from the Moon Gong Bath on 20.08.2020.