This past week in our yoga classes here at The Yoga Room we shifted our spring cleaning focus beyond just the physical by working with the concept of sauca–cleanliness and purity. Sauca can have to do with physical cleanliness and purity, and therefore we can cultivate it simply through practicing asana and pranayama that cleanse and purify the body. But it also has to do with mental purity and clarity. One way to cultivate this on our mat is to use our breath to help keep the mind calm, and by simply observing thoughts and reactions as they come up, acknowledging them, but then trying to detach from them and let them go, coming back to the present moment.
Sauca also has to do with the cleanliness and purity of our words–do we make negative comments, complain a lot, or gossip? We can view it in how we take care of our surroundings. In our yoga practice, this can mean being conscious of where we put our shoes when we come into the studio, how we line up our mat in relation to other students’ mats around us, and if we bring in a lot of other things that clutter the space around our mat that our teacher might trip over. ;) We can also think about sauca in relation to what we choose to expose ourselves to: what we eat, what we watch, what we read, what we listen to, who we choose to spend time with. There are many ways to take this practice of sauca off our mat.
Ultimately, we can see that sauca is all about cultivating greater self-awareness and being more conscious, realizing that how we take care of ourselves and our surroundings, and the energy we put out into the world through our thoughts, words and actions, not only affects us but affects everyone around us, and continues to create a ripple effect out from there.