The meaning of the niyama SAUCHA
We have begun to talk about NIYAMA, i.e. the observances in yogica philosophy, lets try to look at them one by one starting from SAUCHA.
WHAT DOES SAUCHA MEAN?
In Sanskrit the word Saucha means purification and relates in particular to the cleaning of the body but one cannot and should not reduce it only to this.
In the philosophy of yoga the body is considered as the temple of the soul and must therefore be treated and kept in the best of ways. If it is not clean than it is unable to move forward on our spiritual journey, but we will talk of a much deeper cleaning than we think.
From a traditional point of view Saucha, is indeed the first of the Niyama. Remember that the Niyama are responsible for the relationship between the practitioner, his body and the vital energies. They can be considered as rules of personal conduct, that guide the yogi to improve and develop his interiority and awareness.
Always according to the yogic philosophy of traditional matrix to have a clean and pure body it is important to practice with constancy asana and follow a natural and balanced diet, thus fulfilling every part of our body.
Also described in detail are the cleaning modalities especially in the Hatha Yoga Pradipica, which is one of the most important texts of this discipline.
In this marvellous text some Kriya of purification are described.
Kriya stands for ritual of purification and it describes some as:
- Jala neti and sutra neti = nasal cleaning
- Nauli = cleaning and strengthening of the abdomen
- Dhauti = cleaning of the upper digestive tract
- Basti = colon cleansing
- Kapalabhati = cleaning of the lungs and bronchi
- Trataka =cleaning of the eyes
In addition to physical cleanliness it is also very important to cleanse the mind and keep it free from everything that could disturb the spiritual growth and certainly here in this process meditation plays a fundamental role.
“Purity (saucha) leads to the abandonment of the physicality and the cessation of the physical contact with the external things”. (Yoga Sutras 2.4)
Saucha therefore in short can be defined as purity:
– Purity of the body in all its aspects: Nutrition, hygiene, flexibility, sexuality ect;
– Purity of the mind always under all aspects: relationship with onesself, awareness, ability to detach, ability to constant improvement ect.