The yogic concept of Saocha is about cleanliness, or purity, of both the body and the mind. This practice brings a kind of clarity and subtly of being. To practice it is to clean away all the dirt that may clutter the mind so that perception of the Infinite is possible. The mind has many layers. The outer-most layer of the mind is the physical body that resides in this physical world. Therefore there is a need to purify the body as well as the conscious mind and the subconscious mind.
The first act you can do to develop in this practice is to keep your environment simple and clean so that you are surrounded with a feeling of aliveness and harmony. It can make a real difference when you create a beautiful room to be in or a home garden you can really feel alive and whole in, that expresses beauty and harmony.
Then how you attend to your body also makes a real difference in your experience. If you keep it fresh and alive inside and out you become vibrant. This is your ground, your vehicle in this world. It needs to be clean, fresh and vibrant to stay healthy and function optimally. Do you eat foods that give you radiant health? Do you bath, take steam baths, sauna, hot tub, engage in practices to purify your body? How about fasting? It is an ancient yogic practice to fast four days before the new and full moon (Ekadashi) to cleans and purify the body and then if more is desired also fast on the new and full moon. It helps balance the fluids in the body and maintain health. Modern research has supported this practice showing that fasting one day a week extends life expectancy.
These bathing and health practices make your physical body healthy and vibrant, but what of your mind and spirit? That too needs purification. A pure mind is a clean mind, a clear mind devoid of mess and debris, but how does one purify the mind? The mind can be purified in a clean vessel by doing meditation upon the Divine, and by maintaining pure thoughts.
Stress is a big problem in the world today. Although people are stressed by many different situations, much stress is self-made. If you want to solve your stress, learn to love yourself. Learn to appreciate what you have. Learn to feel that grace is in every moment of your life and all that you have is given in grace. Be happy with who you are, what you have and the manifestation that is your life.
Find the joy. Find the goodness and the brightness. Find your peace with what is and then in that brightness, that contentment, come to the equanimity where mind settles and acceptance, love and peace ensue. When you change your habitual thinking patterns to embrace self-love and a positive outlook it purifies the mind. It clears out the sludge and when you connect to the bright light of Divinity within, that light brings joy, clarity and a pure and open heart. Spirits brighten. This is where it all starts, with your spiritual connection and your mental habits. But if you want to manifest your good intentions, you will also need to practice Saocha to keep your body vibrant and healthy.
When mind and body have become clear vehicles for spirit, your relationship to everything around you changes. It becomes an expression of your inner state of well-being, an opportunity to express you pure thoughts and pure heart in the world.
For more on all of this and how to practically put it into play in your life, you can go to my book Living Love, the Yoga of Yama and Niyama.
Maetreyii Ma: a teacher of yogic wisdom & practices