Let go of whatever bodily contortion comes to mind when reading the word “yoga”, and invite the idea that yoga is accessible at anytime, anywhere. In this five-part series we cover the Niyamas, or self-disciplines as defined in the Yoga Sutra texts. By understanding these roots we see how yoga dives much deeper past the poses you hold on your mat.
Asana, or the physical posture, is easily identified in a yoga practice. We see someone holding a headstand, we see a yogi. And while inversions take much time and dedication to master, landing poses account towards one of many visceral objectives to yoga.
Asana: Balasana (Child’s Pose)
According to Patanjali’s writings on the Yoga Sutra, or theories of yoga, the sutras offer guidelines described as “The Eight Limbs of Yoga”. Asana is the third of these eight limbs, leaving much more to contemplate during the journey from the outer to the inner (mat not included). The second limb of yoga is Niyama, which translates to observance and expands on daily habits. There are five Niyamas creating a blueprint for a purposeful life. Each Niyama builds on one another, and can be applied to the modern day:
The Five Niyamas:
- Shuacha: Purity
- Santosha: Contentment
- Tapas: Self-Discipline
- Svadhyaya: Self-Study
- Ishvara Pranidhana: Self-Surrender
Knowing the Niyamas: Shuacha
Shuacha means purity, clarity and cleanliness in both the body and mind. To purify the physical, eat with intention and hydrate regularly to nourish your body. Exercise appropriately as it fits your needs, and make a sacred space for where you sleep.
Tip: Cleanse your spirit and your space with organic Palo Santo, which translates to "Holy Wood". It is part of the citrus family and has sweet notes of pine, mint and lemon. Palo Santo is typically enjoyed for its energy cleansing and healing properties to keep you grounded and clear. It's purifying smoke will help create space for journaling, meditating, practicing asanas and more.
As far as purifying your mind, try detox-blocks with your screen. Commit to avoiding screens the first and last hour you are awake to set yourself at ease between those precious nights of dreaming. Tip: Swap the screen for a read. Our favorite Fall read is "It's Not Your Money" by Tosha Silver.
There are many ways to practice purity, or shaucha in your day. The purpose is not to take away things from our life, but to accept everything as it is in nature. As we explore the four other niyamas in this series, you will see how shaucha creates a strong base for a stable mind. To put it simply, less really is more.