In March we shift our focus from the Yamas to the Niyamas. The Niyamas refer to inner observances or duties directed to ourselves. The practice of Niyama helps us maintain a positive environment in which to bloom, and gives us self-discipline and inner-strength necessary to progress along the path of yoga.
The first Niyama is Saucha, or purification. Saucha invites us to purify our bodies, our thoughts, and our words. As we purify ourselves, we become more pure in our state of mind and more spiritually liberated. The practices of asana, pranayama, and mediation cleanse and purify the body and mind helping us to recognize habits we have picked up in our life that no longer serve us.
Taking steps to cleanse and purify ourselves will look different for each of us. Cleansing can take on many forms, but whatever form the purification takes, it always begins with the intention to “lighten” the load we are carrying.