Yoga as an Inner PathApril 30, 2013
Santosha – ContentmentMay 18, 2013
From Abundance to Simplicity
The first of the Niyamas, Saucha, lends itself to a myriad of explorations (I suppose everything does). The paradoxical nature of that statement is that Saucha can be seen as simplicity. Often described as cleanliness, such as hygiene (or Kriyas), there is definitely a deeper aspect to the purity to be discovered through this Niyama.
I find it intriguing that this first Niyama of simplicity follows the last Yama of Abundance (or Non-Grasping). When realizing abundance, there can be a clearing of clutter, a way of simplifying life. It makes sense to me to practice non-grasping and/or realizing abundance that is already available and then (or at the same time) clean house, remove clutter and simplify. It could be tricky to clear clutter or let go without the realization of abundance or awareness of the suffering that can come from grasping. When practicing or experiencing simplicity, each moment, object or person can be truly experienced without the diluting that comes from cluttering up space (physical or mental) with many other distractions.
Nischala Joy Devi, in her book, The Secret Power of Yoga defines Saucha in these ways…
Through simplicity and continual refinement the body, thoughts and emotions become clear refections of the Self within.
Reveals our joyful nature and the yearning for knowing the Self blossoms.
To be emotionally light and see the humour in life.
The word purity can lead us to think of many restrictions or perhaps an impossible endeavour to be perfect in some way. A simple definition of “the absence of contaminants” can point there as well. Remembering that it is a practice (as all yoga is) and that thoughts of all kinds will arise and become more clutter if allowed, one can sift through what is supportive or not and remember all the Yamas that came before.
Where can you begin to simplify and see yourself beneath the distractions that life seems to so easily afford? For those in the challenge (or anyone), play with this for the next week and feel free to share.
I’ve been clearing some clutter myself in my physical and mental space. Cleaning up what I eat has often been my go-to. Focusing more on what I let occupy my thoughts and clutter my living space is where I’m going with this now. I’m always happy to connect and support in the practice of yoga. It’s definitely a practice and we’re all in this together.