The Niyamas: Saucha - purity, cleanliness and clearness

by Wessel Paternotte

The Niyamas: Saucha - purity, cleanliness and clearness

When I first heard about the niyamas as being the rules of yoga, I was not a fan. I never liked rules and I had a slight tendency of breaking them. Luckily, over the years my perception changed, and I began to understand that the niyamas are not meant as rules that you simply must follow to be a good person. I began to appreciate them as spiritual, mystical and yet very practical guidelines for a happy life. And I love being happy. And it is my great pleasure to discuss the niyamas with you for the next couple of months. I believe they help us focus our mind on the eternal source of all being, and bring magic to our life. By practicing the niyamas, we make space for divine consciousness to flow through us. Ultimately, we become a vessel to transmit light. This is – in my eyes - the purpose of practicing yoga.

The first niyama is Saucha, which means purity, cleanliness and clearness. And what do we want to make pure, clean and clear? Our inner & outer world. Our body & our mind. Our conscious & subconscious mind. Basically, we want everything to be as Saucha as we can possibly get it. Why? First of all, because it feels good. There is nothing like coming out of the shower all fresh, washed, clean, scrubbed, brushed and smelling like a rose. Saucha! And don’t forget the inner body: Fasting every now and then to allow our body to rest, drinking water to clean the body internally, doing practices that heal and purify the body, it all makes us feel great and shiny and fully present in our body. Saucha!

And how about our environment? My mother always used to say: when your room is a mess, your head is a mess. Wise words. I discovered how organizing and cleaning my house had a direct effect on my state of mind. Perhaps cleaning out our closet, doing the dishes, washing the windows or taking out the trash is not always our favorite way to spend the afternoon, but how great is that feeling once you are done and you look around? You feel great. That’s Saucha!

But the practice of Saucha is not just about feeling good. I discovered Saucha helps us become a pure vehicle for spiritual awakening. When we keep our environment clean and organized, and take good care of everything around us, something shifts in our attitude towards life. It creates a mentality of attentiveness. When we make our personal space open and clear, and attend to our environment with subtlety and awareness, we make space for the magic to appear. That is why we like to keep everything so nice and tidy at Delight. Saucha!

And last but not least: beyond the physical world is the psychic realm, and cultivating a pure mind is where the real work lies. How do we purify the mind? The mind can be purified by doing Brahma Sadhana, meditation upon the divine, and by maintaining pure thoughts. When we see the divine in everything and look on the bright side of life, our attitude towards ourselves changes. So even when things look bleak, I try to find the joy in that I call the delight of being. I try to remember that life is not happening to me, but for me. Divine consciousness, the beauty of life, is available every moment when you open up for it. When you make space for it.  Our pure mind becomes absorbed with sweet, careful and loving thoughts. We treat all objects and all beings around us with kindness and love. And we become the person we always knew we were deep down inside. That is the power and beauty of practicing Saucha!

May Saucha be with you this month, and may your soul shine bright like a diamond.

All my love,

Wessel Paternotte

Founder Delight Yoga


About Wessel Paternotte

Wessel is oprichter en mede-eigenaar van Delight Yoga. Al van jongs af aan is Wessel sterk geïnteresseerd in spiritualiteit en martial arts. Hij heeft verschillende vormen van meditatie bestudeerd en verkreeg in 2006 de titel van Reiki Master.