Today we are going to explore the Niyama Saucha or cleanliness, purity and clearness. Niyamas are virtues / guidelines (taken from ancient yoga philosophy) to help beings experience peace.
It is January. And I have noticed less leftover pizza (and pizza boxes to sniff and chew) and more soup and salad being served. It is a sad time for us dogs.
In the last couple months, food was everywhere. Turkey, pretzels, beer cheese, and cake. Then suddenly - after one late night with bubbly drinks – nothing. No more delicious food.
It makes my brother Jake and I wonder…did we do something wrong?
Recently my diet changed as well – for the better. I had been terribly itchy and had a never-ending ear infection. I could sense the food I was eating wasn’t good for me. So, I stopped eating.
Have you ever eaten something that made you sick? It is a horrible when food that is supposed to nourish us - does the opposite.
When I stopped eating, my human took me to the vet and she suggested trying a different diet. The hypoallergenic food she prescribed smelled good to me. When offered, I quickly ate it all.
It was like my body knew what was right for me.
I feel so much better now. My skin cleared up, my eyes aren’t full of mucus anymore and I poop more regularly.
Which is a big topic in my house. My humans are always asking – did Yogi poop? I wish they would be quieter about my bowel habits. They don’t have the same conversations about my younger brother Jake. Maybe it’s because he’s only two and I’m ten.
Mmmm…I wonder if the lack of pizza boxes means the humans are following my example. Maybe all the wonderful smelling and greasy food wasn’t good for them either.
All this reminds me of the yoga Niyama Saucha which relates to cleanliness, purity and clearness. It refers to purity of body, mind and speech - and is considered essential for health, happiness and general well-being.
Purity refers to the body’s outside too. Winter is a great time to observe self-care rituals like warm baths, hair-cuts (I hear my grooming costs more than my human’s) and facials.
Saucha also refers to purity of speech and mind. Anger, hate, prejudice, greed, pride, fear, negative thoughts are impurities of the mind. These are cleansed through activities like meditation, creative pursuits (coloring is a great one) or the study of philosophical and spiritual texts.
I have noticed my human reading a few pages of a philosophy book each morning, and then sitting quietly and breathing. She counts beads one by one for each breath. There are many beads on the strand – but it takes only ten minutes or so for her to finish the measured breathing.
Her energy is quieter - and she speaks in a more loving tone after she finishes (what she calls) meditating. I wish all humans would take ten minutes to meditate each day. Imagine what the world would be like - if everyone found ten minutes of meditative calm each morning?
How might observing the Niyama of Saucha and making an effort to purify our mind, body and spirit improve our lives – and maybe the entire world?
Next time we will explore the Niyama of contentment – a favorite of my human.
Until then, Namaste.
Yogi Bear is the friendly and wise mascot of Mini Change Yoga.