Clean Living: What the Yoga Sutras Teach About Cleanliness

clean living

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras teach yogis how to live a yoga-based life. The verses show us how to be healthy and positive in body, mind, and spirit. As we’ve seen, there are eight limbs in Patanjali’s yoga. They are all important aspects of the practice that yogis can follow to achieve balance and grow toward enlightenment. Clean living is one aspect of an overall yoga lifestyle.

The Niyamas, the second of Patanjali’s eight limbs, focus on personal development. There are five niyamas, including saucha, which translates to clean living and purity inside and out.

How to Practice Clean Living

When you step onto your yoga mat, you’re taking the first step in connecting to your true self through asanas, pranayama, and meditation. All these practice help cultivate an attitude of clean living. They detoxify the physical body and clear the cobwebs from the mind.

Another way to practice clean living is to keep your physical environment clean. Wear clean clothes, use a mat cleaner to cleanse your mat after practice, and remove your shoes before you enter your home or your yoga studio.

Notice how these practices make you feel. Knowing you are practicing in a clean space can help keep your focus on the practice. I find using a mat cleaner infused with essential oils helps me feel a sense of purity when I practice.

Here are some other ways to practice clean living (saucha) daily:

Eat a clean diet. Buy organic products whenever possible to avoid harmful pesticides and fungicides. Fresh ingredients, rather than processed foods, are best. You may even choose to follow a plant-based diet, which tends to be cleaner and more in line with another tenet of yoga—ahimsa.

Keep your home and workplace as organized as possible. When you clean your home or office, use natural products that don’t contain harmful chemical ingredients and artificial fragrances. It’s also helpful to stay organized and reduced clutter. Your physical surroundings affect your mind. If there’s less clutter around you, your mind will feel less cluttered as well.

Pay attention to the products you use on your body. Many cosmetics are toxic, so clean living includes avoiding the harmful ingredients in many personal care products on the market today. Try to use natural soaps, moisturizers, makeup, and hair care products whenever possible.

The Benefits of Clean Living

Yogis know that clean living has many benefits. Practices that keep your body, environment, and mind clean can lead to better focus, improved mental clarity, and a more positive attitude. You won’t be bogged down by physical clutter in your environment, and your mind will be free of clutter in the form of ceaseless and disorganized thoughts.

Remember your yoga practice extends beyond the poses you practice on the mat. Yoga is a lifelong journey that helps bring balance into all areas of your life. By paying attention to purity and cleanliness, you’ll enjoy the benefits of yoga more fully.

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Maria Kuzmiak

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