Niyamas are the basis for a healthy relationship with ourselves. In yoga, we place ourselves in a relationship to something, focusing our mind and body to the art of ‘purification’ through Yoga practice in order to produce a positive effect the pursuit of the state of Yoga.
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika text warns the student, “Graha Niyama” to not take these Niyamas to extremes as it reinforces unhealthy motivations and self-abuse. This guides the student to bespoke the practice and walk the ‘middle path’.
The first Niyama is Sauca which is the caring for ourselves and our environment, making it clean and tidy. It literally means cleanliness, Sauca is to shine, gleam, to be clean. Sauca usually refers to the exterior inhabitance, but it also applies to the internal as well, equally nourishing the healthy and unhealthy parts of ourselves. Sometimes we have to trick ourselves to do this as we don’t give ourselves the same attention as if we were caring for a family member, a friend or a beloved pet. We tend to treat them better than we treat ourselves.
Self-care is the first step to having a better relationship with ourselves, cultivating a strong, stable Asana, in which we can improve our quality of breath, therefore the quality of Prana. This Prana, life force, will increase it’s energy as we practice, burning hotter and brighter. Connecting to Prana’s intelligence, which is said to be healing, inspiring and transformative. Our sense of connection to lasting fulfilment, deep contentment and a path towards freedom or liberation from what causes us to suffer, is a remission on a daily basis. We take that same care every day when we practice Yoga and value our bodies, minds and environment preparing them for the state of Yoga.
There are 5 fruits of inner Sauca:
- Sattva Siddhi – a clear and bright mind enhancing equanimity
- Saumanasya – positive attitude that is joyous, loving, light and spacious
- Ekagrya – clarity of focus, resting in one-pointed awareness
- Indriya Jaya – control of senses to nurture rather than imprison you
- Atma Sarsana Yogyatva – optimal physical, energetic and conscious fitness for a deep experience of the Self, True Nature.
*My wrist is wrapped up to offer myself support as I fell and waiting for it to heal. So I might be demonstrating different things on my hand that is injured. Please follow the healthy hand*