I really like the way this topic links in and connects with our week of Spring Detox and our discussions around Tapas and Grief - it all weaves together.
Saucha is the first of the Niyamas - the prescriptions or austerities to return us to our natural state of love and bliss. Saucha means cleanliness or purity. This can be taken literally in terms of the small daily rituals that we undertake to prepare for our yoga practice, washing our face, going to the bathroom ( before dawn of course because that is the most energetically sympathetic time to arrive on your mat ), a few drops of sesame oil in the ears and nostrils - a neti pot and scrape of the tongue..... with a tongue scraper.
Saucha can also be looked at in terms of our actual asana practice being a system by which we purify our body, pranayama to detoxify and purify our body and mind, meditation to purify our thoughts, these practices which are good Tapas ( see earlier blog ) are also Saucha -
Taken a step further cleaning out your cupboards and arranging them with less in a more organised way is also a step toward purity, simplification - as is doing less, letting go of the Western concept of doing more and more in order to be succeeding - having time to complete a task in a mindful simple way is great Saucha.
At the beginning of the season it is beneficial to undergo a cleanse - a cleanse is good Saucha - which can be at home drinking warm water with lemon each morning or a full course of panchakarma at an Ayurvedic hospital or resort - where you check in under the care of an Ayurvedic doctor for a treatment lasting for a week or several weeks, eating special food, meditating, practicing asana, receiving medicinal massages daily, wraps and baths in herbs - Auyrveda is slow acting medicine, using Vedic wisdom ( so the same lineage of knowledge as yoga) and this kind of treatment is used as both as repair when ill and as maintenance and if you ever go to India it is highly recommended to experience this 24 hour care.
Some of the Saucha practices can become really extreme, swallowing metres of cloth to extract out bile from the stomach for one - holding your breath for extraordinary long times, going and sitting in a cave for years meditation......
Have a think about self care, Tapas, Saucha and how they all link together in your life, the efforts that you make to support your body and soul, to keep your life and body and soul healthy and well and nurtured in ways that may be not the easiest choice but are chosen because long term you will benefit .