“If you want peace and purity, melt away your coverings…let a streaming beauty flow through you.” – Rumi
This week we continue our quest to support a steady yoga practice by looking at the second limb of the yoga system called niyamas or observances. There are five niyamas and the first is shaucha or purity.
By observing purity, we endeavor to lift ourselves to a higher, clearer and more peaceful state at all levels: intellectual, verbal and physical.
Below are some of the ways I incorporate the idea of purity into my physical yoga practice:
Mudra (Hand Gesture) – The Detoxifing Mudra is designed to release waste and toxins from the body and mind so that there is room for positivity and clarity. The gesture is to place each thumb on the inner edge of the third joint of your ring finger. Do this with each hand. Then, visualize yourself letting go of things that are weighing you down.
Chanting – In order to invoke more noble thoughts, find an uplifting phrase that speaks to you and learn it. Silently follow along until you are comfortable reciting the words clearly and with purpose. One that I chant frequently is this Sanskrit mantra: “Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu.” Translated, it means: “May all beings everywhere be happy and free and may the thoughts, words and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.”
Asana – Incorporate a twist into each yoga practice this week. Any twist, like Marichyasana, will serve to squeeze out the unwanted toxins and provide room for fresh nutrients and oxygen to enter the body.
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana or Bridge Pose is a posture that moves energy into the heart and throat areas which are centers for purification.
In order to keep our yoga more meaningful and rooted, we should look for ways to connect with the esoteric aspects of the yogic system. When we practice purity, we remove the obstacles that block our health and joyfulness. In clearing the debris, we find the space for noble thoughts and a pathway for bringing energy upward to the heart and throat chakras. In this way, purity leads us to our true purpose in life and a greater compassion for self and others.
If you would like to learn more about shaucha or purity, please click here.