For most yogis, we are drawn initially to the practice by the wonderful poses – the asanas. Many people stay with this practice – which can be a meditation in and of themselves. With a multitude of physical and mental benefits. Yet, when asanas draw us deeper, and we begin to study the philosophical underpinnings of yoga, we begin to understand that yoga presents us with a clear path by which to pattern our lives. Although yoga is not a religion, per se, these same truths are part of most of the world’s major religions.

In the tradition of yoga, these truths are called Yamas and Niyamas. These pearls of wisdom were set out by an ancient sage, Patanjali, and it is by following them that we come closer to true freedom and to spiritual connection. Through the practice of the 5 Yamas and 5 Niyamas, we help to clear away the negative physical and mental states of being. 

The truth that we shall discuss this month is one of the Niyamas (things to do – as opposed to things NOT to do) is Shauca..sometimes to referred to as Purity .

Certainly when we think of purity as it applies to the physical body, we know that we ought to keep our bodies clean, obtain adequate rest and eat fresh and healthy food. The practice of the physical poses will cleanse from the inside out. Yet Shauca goes further to implore us to move beyond our own physical body into the surroundings and our whole environment to strive for cleanliness, orderliness and a return to nature’s own balance.

Patanjali further states that negative thought, negative talk, and negative action all work against this Niyama. He implores us to exchange positive thinking for dark thoughts. And to not engage in gossip or ill will by way of speech. Every action begins in the mind, and is many times manifested by saying it aloud. We are asked to turn away from darkness and to turn toward the light.

Where to begin? Where to begin? Well, one of the ways that we can begin is to begin de-cluttering our own personal surroundings – our home and perhaps our office. When we clear the outside space, the inner space begins to expand. Take a look around. What are you holding on to? The past is gone, and will never be here again. The past weighs on us — exhausts us, and prevents us from seeing what is.

This month, let us resolve together to give away or toss out 50 things. They need not be large things. Your closet is a good place to start, or that bedroom table that is burgeoning with books and magazines. Old emails not only take up space in your computer, but every time that you notice it, it drags you into the past or hurls you into the future. We’d be pleased to hear how giving up/giving away/clearing space makes you feel this month.