excerpt from 4/1/12 Dharma Talk
Spring is here and as much as I don’t like it- I find myself thinking about spring cleaning!
In Sanskrit, the word Sauca means cleanliness. Sauca is one of the 5 niyamas in Yogic philosophy. A niyama is considered an “observance” and it’s one tool in the enormous Yogic toolbox to help us to live a more ethical life.
On the surface, Sauca is a no-brainer. We sweep and dust, do laundry and the dishes, we organize what we have and we throw away what we don’t need. When our environment is clean and in order, we feel better. That’s the easy part.
But if we use Sauca as a metaphor for how we care for our internal house- both our emotional and our physical house, that’s when housekeeping gets more interesting! Since we can’t hire someone to do our internal housework for us we realize it’s all up to us.
Donna Farhi in her book “Bringing Yoga to Life” says “…unlike so many traditions that have viewed the body as something to be transcended, the Yoga tradition tells us to make the house of the body a fit place to live”
So when I think of Sauca I think of orderliness. Yoga helps us to create mental order through awareness. We are given steps and cues to help us achieve a posture. The constant drawing of the mind inward to make physical adjustments creates awareness, consciousness and eventually stillness within us. We use the breath to activate the Parasympathetic Nervous System. This kicks-in our Rest and Relax response -the state where the body heals itself on a cellular level. So we replace a churning mind with a state of calm. Over time we create more clarity in our thought patterns and old thought patterns begin to recede. This mental housekeeping happens at the same time that the physical body also is doing it’s own housekeeping…