How are we already in week three of June? However, that does mean we get to move into the discussion of Niyamas!
Niyamas work alongside the Yamas. Niyamas are more about ways we treat ourselves, and focusing on observing ourselves. We will start with the first two Niyamas, and then finish June off with the last three!
Saucha: Cleanliness or self-purification
Yeah, okay, if you want to get down to the nitty gritty, take a shower, clean yourself, but really this can be about so much more. What about self-purification of your thoughts and your mind. Asking yourself “why do I think this” or “is this true?” Saucha is a great way to get curious about your initial and first thought/response to something.
This is a great way to focus on your initial thoughts of how you interact with other people, maybe even what thoughts come up for you as you’re in yoga. Do you immediately think, “I suck, my body is incapable” when you get into a hard yoga pose? Or what about “(Insert name) is always in a bad mood, I can’t stand dealing with them!”
How can you notice and shift your way of thinking to purify your thoughts and in return not harm yourself or others?
This does not mean “settling” or becoming complacent. This is all about creating acceptance. Where can you let go of past judgments or expectations? Instead of getting frustrated that your day didn’t go as planned, accepting it and moving forward from here.
For example, when I’m in yoga class, reminding myself that certain poses are hard because they are difficult for the body to do, not because I’m weak or whatever. But when I realize that the pose is actually hard, I end up giving myself a lot more grace and acceptance of where I am in the pose. In return, this brings a lot more joy to my practice then getting frustrated and beating myself up over my “lack of flexibility” or whatever it may be.
Working through the yamas and niyamas are a way to create a framework for freedom. Using these guideposts can help you not only navigate difficult situations, but also practicing these in every day life just makes those tools work more on their own in difficult situations.
What’s possible now that you can observe Saucha and Santosha in your life?