March: Saucha – Purification
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.
- Saucha in the body – In week one, notice where your body feels sluggish or heavy. Spend the week focusing more on your exercise & movement and eating a clean diet. Try to put pure and nutritious food into your body and notice how this combined with your asana can help you to feel lighter and more pure with your internal processes.
- Saucha in the mind – In week two, purify your thoughts and words. Whether it’s in dialog with friends, entries in your journal, or release of negative thoughts towards someone or something, try to replace these thoughts and words with love and gratitude.
- Saucha in the breath – In week three, focus on your pranayama to help purify and cleanse within. Try practicing nadi shodhana, or alternate nostril breathing, daily to clear the internal energy channels and nervous system.
- Saucha in the spirit – In week four, meditate daily. Meditation is a fantastic way to declutter the mind and make space for more fulfilling experiences in life.