Every month, WE highlights a specific virtue from the yogic code of ethics, as outlined by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutra, the most widely regarded text on yoga. The sixth virtue in this 10-part blog series, and the theme for June at WE, is Saucha- Purity.
“No mud – no lotus.” -Thich Nhat Hanh
Saucha is the first of the Niyamas. While the Yamas taught us truth by examining our relationship with others, the Niyamas teach us truth by examining our relationship with ourselves- beginning with self-love.
Literally translated, Saucha means purity or cleanliness. The practice of cleanliness can take many forms. We can focus on eating fresh organic foods, keeping our physical environment tidy and clutter free, purifying our mind through various meditation techniques, and cleansing our physical body by bathing, brushing our teeth, and oil-pulling. However, the truth is, we are all perfectly imperfect. The more graciously we accept ourselves as we are, the richer and fuller our lives become.
The practice of Saucha is self-love. Just like the elegant lotus flower which grows out of the murky, muddy water- we are both pure and impure, messy, mysterious, and vibrantly alive. Rather than push parts of ourselves away in judgment or condemnation, we embrace our whole self and come to to realize there is actually nothing to purify at all.
Purity is our very nature- mud and all. In the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, “No mud – no lotus.”