The Niyamas

The Niyamas, the second limb of the eightfold path of yoga, offer a gateway to a deeper transformation, one that transcends the physical realm.

These five observances, unlike the Yamas (ethical guidelines), are a pact we forge with ourselves. They’re the secret ingredients in the alchemical recipe for inner peace and self-mastery.

Saucha (Cleanliness)

Saucha is a holistic purification, encompassing physical hygiene, a clear mind, and a clutter-free environment. Imagine a cluttered room – can true serenity reside there?

Santosha (Contentment)

We all chase that elusive feeling of “enough.”  Santosha flips the script. It’s about cultivating gratitude for the present moment, finding joy in what we already have, and stepping off the hedonistic treadmill.

Tapas (Self-Discipline)

The fire of discipline. Tapas ignites our dedication to growth. It’s the unwavering commitment to our practice, even when the voice of laziness whispers sweet nothings. Remember, muscles aren’t built in a day, and neither is inner strength.

Svadhyaya (Self-Study)

Embark on a voyage of self-discovery. Svadhyaya is the introspective lens we train on ourselves. Meditation, journaling, or simply contemplating the nature of our thoughts are all tools in this quest for self-knowledge.

Ishvarapranidhana (Surrender)

Last but not least and certainly not the easiest. It’s about letting go of the reins, surrendering to the grand tapestry of existence. It doesn’t mean passive resignation, but rather trusting the flow of life and accepting what we cannot control.

The Niyamas are a lifelong exploration, not a destination. Start small, integrate them gradually, and witness the transformation unfold. You might not achieve the perfect handstand, but you’ll cultivate a sense of inner peace in all aspects of your life.

Now let’s explore the first Niyama: Saucha or ‘Cleanliness’

Saucha: Cultivating Purity for a Powerful Yoga Practice

In the eight limbs of yoga, the Yamas (ethical restraints) guide our interactions with the world, while the Niyamas (observances) turn our focus inward. Saucha, the first Niyama, translates to “cleanliness” and forms the foundation for a powerful yoga practice. But Saucha goes beyond a simple shower after class. It’s a multi-layered concept encompassing physical, mental, and emotional purity.

The Three Dimensions of Saucha

  • Physical Saucha: This refers to maintaining external cleanliness. A regular yoga practice can generate sweat and exertion, so pre and post-practice hygiene are essential. Keeping your yoga mat clean and your practice space organised contributes to a fresh and inviting environment.
  • Mental Saucha:  Our minds are bombarded with information overload. Saucha encourages us to cultivate a clear and clutter-free mental space. Meditation, pranayama (breath-work), and spending time in nature are all practices that can help cultivate mental clarity and focus.
  • Emotional Saucha:  Emotions like anger, jealousy, and resentment can cloud our judgment and hinder our practice. Although it is healthy to acknowledge and sit with all of the emotions we experience, Saucha encourages us to cultivate positive emotions like kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. By acknowledging and processing our emotions healthily, we create space for inner peace.

Integrating Saucha into Your Yoga Journey for a cleaner, more focused mind

Meditation: This is a powerhouse for mental saucha. Even 5-10 minutes daily can help observe and release negative thoughts. Start with guided meditations if focusing is difficult.

Journaling: Write down what’s bothering you. Sometimes simply putting it on paper helps release its hold on your mind. Reflect on positive experiences and goals too.

Declutter your media: Be mindful of what you consume. Limit negativity in the news or social media. Seek out content that inspires, educates, or uplifts you.

Positive affirmations: Start your day with positive self-talk. Repeat statements like “I am calm” or “I choose happiness” to counter negative thoughts.

Cultivate gratitude: Reflect on things you’re grateful for. This simple practice shifts your focus to the positive aspects of life.

Mindfulness in daily activities: Pay attention to the present moment. Savour your hot drink, feel the ground beneath your feet, or listen attentively to conversations. This reduces mental chatter.

Digital detox: Schedule breaks from screens and technology. This allows your mind to rest and recharge, fostering clarity.

By applying Saucha on all levels, you create a foundation for a powerful and transformative yoga practice. Be kind to and patient with yourself, and celebrate your progress along the way. As you cultivate inner and outer purity, you’ll find your yoga practice deepening and your overall well-being flourishing.

Practise with me over the Easter weekend:

Friday, Saturday, Sunday: No classes


10.30am Gentle Flow @Flourish in Teddington ( A Lovely cosy studio with a full and varied timetable)

17.45 Mindful Flow @The yoga Bar

19.45 Restorative Yoga @Flourish

If you’d like more information on anything yoga please contact me or book here to practise with me in Marlow, Twickenham and online.

With love

Anney xx

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