Sauca – The First Niyama
Posted by terrepruitt on March 7, 2016
I teach Nia, you may know that. You may also know that Nia is a cardio dance exercise. You can go to class get a workout and not think about it at all. Or you can take it a little further if you would like and delve into some of the things that Nia likes to do, like connect movement with things in life, practice the 13 Principles of the Nia White Belt in your daily life. But the 13 Principles of the first level of Nia are things like being Joyful in your movement or doing something in your own time or noticing how your body moves. Whereas if you are going to practice more than just the physical aspect of yoga you are going to be observing rules and restrictions and practicing breathing techniques and meditating. So even though I often compare Nia to yoga saying that it is a practice, I don’t think of the Nia practice as rules and restrictions. With yoga there are the Eight Limbs of Yoga. I listed them in my post “More To Yoga Than Just Asana“. I am more familiar with the first four than the last four. I can say that the first four have more. As in the first two have five each, the third has hundreds, and I am not even sure how many the fourth has, but I know of at least ten. The first limb is the yamas. I have written a brief post on each yama. Now I am going to skim the surface of the niyamas.
As I mentioned, there are five niyamas. Some call them rules, some call them observances, some call them spiritual practices. The first of the niyamas is Sauca . . . . as with many of the Sanskrit words you will probably see it spelled different ways. While it might be spelled different, it is pretty much agreed upon that this niyama is about cleanliness, purity.
The Heart of Yoga says “Cleanliness, or keeping our bodies and our surroundings clean and neat.”
Recently I had the opportunity to examine this niyama by being assigned to write about it. I decided to take the points that were mentioned in the lecture and make a little table.
I decided I have showering down. I believe that I do a good job with my general hygiene. Although, it has come to my attention that some people don’t consider it “good hygiene” if you are not wearing make-up. For some people wearing make-up is a very big deal and it had been pointed out to me recently – that make-up should be a part of every woman’s beauty regime. So, I guess SOME people might not agree that I have the “good hygiene” thing down.
Oh, but if one includes, “dapper new clothes” in that “good hygiene”, yeah, I don’t have that down at all. While my clothes will be clean, they might be really faded and what many people would think of as “time-to-get-rid-of”. So just as someone who thinks that having make-up on is part of good hygiene, someone who doesn’t wear or tolerate old and faded clothes might think of me as not having good hygiene.
Keeping things clean is always a “needs work” because SOMETHING is ALWAYS dirty. I mean, even if I spent all my time cleaning there would still be dirty things. But I think I do ok with the necessary basics. Our kitchen is clean, our bathrooms are clean (the showers could always use sand-blasting, but basically they are ok), the cats’ litter boxes are clean (that is a never ending “battle”), our house is basically clean . . . but I can’t keep up with the dust. And, again, that is me saying it is “clean”, but I will not admit to it not being cluttered.
Who cannot swear with all this clutter around?
And cluttered speech . . . that is funny. At times I am very aware of this and I can keep the clutter out, but sometimes a story is just so much more fun with all the drama (good drama, as in a play or good story) that clutter causes. The suspense because you added three more sentences that were not necessary, but your audience is on edge. Sometimes that is just too fun.
Non-judgmental . . . this kinda reminds me of the Yama, Ahimsa. Being “non-violent” with oneself. I could work on judging myself less harshly so as not to judge others so harshly.
Regarding the non-violent thoughts, perhaps with the non-judging, I won’t want to slap the person that didn’t obey the traffic law or show any regard to common sense while driving. Needs work.
Ok, I think I have the littering one down. I say, I think because I don’t litter. I don’t throw things away if it is not in a garbage can or recycle bin. But there might be something someone else considers littering that I do, that I am not aware of.
Not damaging the planet actually made me laugh. It should be “work to keep your damage to a minimum”. Because all of our modern convenience damage the planet. Driving my car, damages the planet, having a cell phone damages the planet, eating food from our food sources damages the planet . . . . so I try to be good about it. I take care not to waste water or electricity or even “THINGS”. I am not a big throw-it-out-and-get-a new-one person . . . . hence all my clutter.
Good intentions. I try, I am sure it could be better.
I work hard not to gossip. Not easy . . . but it kind of helps when you don’t have the opportunity.
Again, as with all the limbs, I am just barely touching the surface. These are not all the ways of sauca, but I think the list/examples we were giving was a good representation. I am sure there are other ways it can be looked at, but in light of this, what do you think?