Saucha: Purity / Clarity
Saucha asks us to maintain a routine to keep our minds & bodies clear. To keep the body clear one must be aware of foods that are taken in, the state of one’s environment, and maintain a practice of pranayama (conscious breath) and physical movement. Mental clarification comes from self exploration through maintaining a practice of self observation from the non judgmental stance of a witness. This brings awareness to how we build up emotional toxins by negative self talk, harsh thoughts and habits. Saucha is not an imposed discipline rather it is a way to honouring yourself.
Explore all the ways in which you already practice Saucha in your diet, physical practice and environment. Now explore ways in you would like to further your practice of Saucha. Choose one thing to introduce into your routine. Practice this one thing long enough that it becomes routine.
Santosha teaches us that contentment lays within releasing the viscous cycle of acquisition; the constant desire to have more and to be more which causes us much suffering. When we stop the compulsion of having we are offered the opportunity to dance with all that we have. Santosha also occurs when we learn to accept the dualities of life. When we release the desire to label our life as good and bad, comfortable and uncomfortable we also release our tendency to act from a place of addiction and aversion and thus release ourselves from the suffering state. Santosha is a journey of moment to moment awareness.
Explore how you prioritize and define your needs and wants. Practice not labeling life experiences as either good or bad, rather, see them simply as experiences.
Tapas literally meaning ‘heat’ shows us that passionate commitment burns up impurities allowing our attention to become refined. We must dedicate ourselves to exploring all the labels we place on ourselves and the stories to which we find ourselves attached to and then work fiercely at giving up our attachments and aversions to them. When we burn through all these perceived aspects of who think we are we are finally free to see who we really are.
Make a list of all your self-image labels, titles and stories. Brining awareness to our self-image offers us the choice to release our aversion or attachments to it.
Swadhyaya involves honest observation and inquiry of our self-image from the place of the witness. The witness does not judge, condemn or punish the observed, rather the witness is compassionate and watches from a place of neither attachment nor aversion. Swadhyaya is not only about gaining wisdom from teachers and self-exploration it is also about walking the talk, being conscious of how you walk your earth path. Wisdom is in your actions.
Perform one action daily that is completely selfless, do it for no other reason than to simply be doing it. Witness your experience as you do it.
Isvara Pranidhana: Surrender to the Divine
Pranidhana means ‘alignment,’’ We can choose to surrender in every moment with every thought, word and deed and trust that everything will occur exactly as it is meant to. When we surrender we are no longer dedicating ourselves to our stories of success and failure, personal preferences, or to our fears and anxieties of control. We then open ourselves to experience pure awareness.
Practice surrendering to not knowing.