The first of the NIyamas, the personal guidelines to help a yoga practitioner stay on their path is Saucha. Cleanliness or purity.
Saucha refers to your space in which you practice and live. It refers to your body before you practice and after you practice. It refers to the cleansing that comes from an asana and pranayama practice. What about the thoughts soiling your mind? One of hte Yamas is Brahmacharya which can be translated as the conservation or direction of energy towards spiritual endeavors. So, what sort of energy is wasted on thoughts that pull you away from a practice of Saucha.
Self-doubt is one of the obstacles listed to a practice. I have many thoughts of self-doubt that sully my mind and purpose and distract me from pursing foward. They come guised at times in as reflection or humility but lift them out of the darkness and it’s just plain old self-doubt with a dash of low self-esteem.
So, I have begun to think of this in terms of Saucha because thoughts that keep me from pursuing that which nourish me are certainly not helpful thoughts, aklistic thoughts and definitely are a kind of mental pollution.
What is cleaniless or the removal of impurities for you? How does this help you maintain your practice? How do you
practice saucha on your mat or off?