“[From purity arises] the purity of our essential being, a positive mind, one-pointedness, victory over the senses, and the qualification for having direct experience of our self.” -Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, PhD
I often hear people tell others that one of the things they love about Robb & I is that we live the yogic lifestyle, to the best of our ability. What does that truly mean? Well, it means we try to be good people and we use yogic principles to help us discern how we respond to life. Yoga dives deeper than the physical practice, also know as asana practice. It dives deeper than the meditation practice, also known as dhyana. Two other limbs of yoga that are guiding principles for living right, also known as the yamas and niyamas. What I love about yoga principals and ethics are they are no different than the religious upbringing I received and thus complementary information using different words and examples.
This month I am going to talk about a periodic niyama practice I have, called Saucha or cleanliness. There are two types of saucha: external (bahya) and internal (abhyantra). Right before the holidays, we decided to sell our family dining room table because we are empty nesters now and the table was always too big for this particular living room and certainly too big for 2 people. We had a smaller table on order. Turns out getting rid of the table left me feeling a little empty and sad because of the funny family dinner memories we had made at that table. To top it off, right after we sold the table, Robb got sick and I was left to my own devices. Well, I have always been one to paint houses when I am feeling emotional. This time, I decided I would scrape the popcorn texture off the ceiling, re-texture and paint the ceiling before the table arrived to it’s new, clean home. I was super sore afterwards, but it felt good to have a fresh start so to speak.
As I sat on my new dining room chair I began to think about the chaos that would ensue in my life at the start of the year with the updating and finishing out of the new studio space and ultimately our move. Those are all things that I will just have to work through day by day and I know there is little I can do to control how it all rolls out. So, I decided the area I could clean up externally (bahya) is my house I live in. I decided to take the popcorn texture off our bedroom ceiling and repaint our room. I have hated the wall color for 6 1/2 years, but someone else always came first and thus, I lived in this room that didn’t bring me a sense of peace. We moved everything out of the room and I went to town scrapping and scrapping and scrapping. I find it oddly satisfying when the texture comes down and I have a clean surface to create on. The other thing I love about these kind of projects is that the physical outlet leads to a moving meditation and internal clutter starts to bubble up and clean out. I can start to release thoughts and emotions that have been cluttering my mind. There was more still there than I thought regarding becoming an empty nester a year early. Much also surfaced over the last few months of working on getting the Main Street building. Mostly my desire after all these years to not feel like an outsider and to feel accepted by my peers. Well, this isn’t always obtainable and my time on the ladder scrapping helped me physically clean my external world, but also clean some of the dust that was cluttering my mind and making me frustrated, angry, & sad.
Last night I sat down with my ‘go to’ sutra book and was reading about saucha and ran across this passage: “We do not clean our house for the purpose of discovering how dirty it is so we can use this discovery to cultivate disgust for it, and, in turn, use that disgust to motivate us to abandon the house. Similarly, in yoga we do not embrace the principles of cleanliness and purity as a means of cultivating disgust for our body, and then use that disgust to sever our connection with ourselves and with others. Yet only when we begin to clean our house do we notice how pervasive and subtle the dirt is and how deeply ingrained it has become.” -Tigunait (pg.199)
Yep! All that time on that ladder helped me see the dust that was hidden under furniture in my mind and for me when I clean the clutter in my external world, my internal world illuminates a little clearer so I can take care of the dust balls I didn’t know were present. It gave me time to let go of things that no longer served my mind in a healthy way so I could get back to being happy, enthusiastic and optimistic. The extra bonus in this story is that I have a super fly room now that is a color that makes me smile when I go in it. Do you have a need to do a saucha cleanse in some way? Tell me about it. I would love to hear.
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We are starting a Expand Your Mat Club, starting in February, where those who join the club will get a chance to study sutras with Robb & I throughout the month. We will have an online community to check in and report thoughts, questions, observations and then on the first Thursday of the month we will get together in person (or by Zoom if you can’t make the meeting in person) and talk about what we got out of the sutras we studied that month. (Yes! if you have moved away you can still participate and study with Robb & I.) We hope you will join us. It’s a great way to grow your practice into your daily life and not just on your mat during class. It’s also a way to practice yoga without the physical aspect.
Cost: $25 a month, (First month is $45 to cover cost of book) -or- pay 6 months at a time $140 (Saving $40 annually) -or- pay for the year $240 (Save $80)