Wild Saucha

S(h)aucha-As(h)aucha, “purity-non-purity”.

Saucha, in traditional Hatha Yoga, is one of the Yamas (1), or the “ethical restraints”.  Not commandments or mandates, but guidelines for elevated living; true right-mindedness and overstanding.

In many such examples (such as Saucha-asaucha) there is to be overstood a subjective and objective reality.  So that, if one learns to recognize subjective reality, to become its ‘master’, then objective re-actions need not manifest.  (An idea also seen in himsa-ahimsa.)  This means: when one refrains from bodily non-purity and mental non-purity, then the spirit is allowed to flow unimpeded.

The body, being our most immediate vehicle, is our first level of purity/saucha.  An idea assisted by the other Yamas; namely,

-Ahimsa, “non-harming”.

-Satya, “truthfulness”.

-Asteya, “non-theft” (to include misappropriation, and not taking anything without reciprocity).  Asteya is a non-predatory mindset.

-Brahmacharya, “divine conduct”.

-Kshama, “patience”, or the release of time to fully live in the now.

-Dhriti, “steadfastness”.

-Daya, “compassion”, but best overstood as mercy and loving-kindness (not shared suffering); or to not be callous or insensitive towards all beings.

-Arjava, “straightforwardness, simplicity in conduct, speaking uprightness”.

-Mitahara, “firm inner energy; fixed internalization”.  Mita, “fixed, firm, strong; moderate, to mete out”; plus Hara, “inner energy center; internal”.  (Hara is also seen in: Sahasrara – the Crown Chakra, and Muladhara – the Earth/Root Chakra.  It is important to bear in mind that the Earth Chakra is related to the Crown Chakra via a circular energy flow, so that Mulad/Earth flows into Sahas/Power, Strength, which is the current to overcome ignorance.)  Specifically, Mitahara is not consuming meat, fish, shellfish, fowl, eggs, or elements that stem from these (such as dairy, for example).

So it is that these nine support the tenth: Saucha .. purity in body and mind.

In bodily terms then, Saucha is our guide in eating healthy, Source-based food; drinking clean water; keeping the body washed; and maintaining a clean and orderly living space.

In mental terms, Saucha is a mind free from harmful thoughts, and speech free from charged obsession and emotional grasping.

Clearly, the benefits for both the body and mind are clear.  A pure body and mind is irie and upfull (2), so boosts our self-esteem, or the idea that we are worthy of good experiences and so capable of self-awareness.

And Saucha is easy.  We begin with emptying our bowels in the morning, with brushing our teeth, cleansing our tongue, and washing our face.  It continues with loving thoughts through mantra, singing or listening to joyfilled music.  We can burn incense or smudge our home, or sprinkle scented water.  We can observe silence by not speaking, by abstaining from television, and from removing clutter from our living space.  We can walk in nature, or sit quietly on the front porch, or do gentle sun salutations – outside – for health and vibrancy.

Yet another example of Saucha are jata or “locks, dreadlocks”.   Among Rastafari, for example, dreads are considered emitters and receptors of divine energy, so the hair is ‘locked’ to control the flow.  From a spiritual perspective, Rastafari dreads have a deep meaning, and relationship to the Lion of Zion.  Overall, Rasta encourages a life of simply purity, so that most will shun meat and alcohol in favor of an all natural or organic Vegan diet.   This practice is akin to Yogis whose jata (“matted hair”, locks) are sacred; for they too are consider powerful transmitters of divine energy.

Overall, Hatha Yoga teaches several forms of bodily Saucha, such as:

-Mudras for the hands, feet and body,

-Pranayama, to vitalize us,

-Bandhas to internalize us, and

-Tarka, the ‘soothing’ or ‘stopping’ of ‘gross thought patterns’.

But why is bodily purity so important?  Well, aside from general hygiene, when we are clean and healthy we feel better, and that relates to self-esteem, which further relates to sustainability.  And like any pebble dropped in a pond, Saucha ripples outwards from our self to our immediate kith and kin, and from there, surging outwards to our community.  When enough of us practice Saucha, we create a tidalwave of purity and beauty that washes across the planet.

So it is simple to say that without bodily purity there can be no mental purity.  An unpure body will ever hinder the mind’s search for clarity.

Through yoga, the devotee constantly experiences the bliss self.

Eying only bliss, ever deep within, the devotee resides in a pleasure-garden.

Quietness is his abode.  Tireless he eyes only light.

His asana is clear-mind.  His body is clean and pure.

Non-dependence his refuge.  His actions a dancing river.


The divine is the devotee’s inner sky; his supreme principle.

Choosing shama and dama (2), the divine within illumines only wisdom.

-Nirvana Upanishad, 11-12 (Yoginiji’s translation)

Shanti and Metta!

Yogini Valarie Devi

~ ~ ~


1-Patanjali, in his Raja Yoga Sutra, lists it as a Niyama.

2-Irie and Upfull, “positive, good”, and “helpful”.  This are Rastafari words, used to more accurately describe their corresponding actions.

3-Shama and Dama, focused mind and senses (respectively).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: