Yoga Philosophy for Everyday Life: Saucha

Celebrate Earth Day by embracing Saucha (cleanliness and purity) in your thoughts, your home and the whole world.

by Laura McCorry

Spring is a time fo new beginnings and for cleaning out the old cobwebbed spaces to bring in fresh air and light. Sometimes these spaces are in the depths of closets and sometimes they can be found in the depths of our thoughts and habits.

Saucha is one of the five moral observances, or Niyamas, of yoga and it refers to cleanliness and purity of body, thoughts and deeds. At first glance, saucha seems rather straight-forward. It’s easy to remember to bathe and to cut your finger nails. Your body won’t feel comfortable or function properly if you stop doing these items of daily maintenance.

But widen the perspective just a bit and you can see how saucha applies to your home as well. If you were to allow trash, papers and other items to accumulate in your home, it would soon be uninhabitable. A clean living space is good for both your health and your mental clarity.

One of the many benefits of yoga is that over time, your awareness will expand in every direction. If you stick with the practice, you’ll find what is good for the body, is also good for the mind and soul. The lessons learned on your mat will follow you into every corner of your experience.

So my hope is that one day, as a species, we will all recognize that the earth, too, needs to be cleaned and maintained.

We learned disposable habits of living from the adults who came before us. It’s easy to fall into the habits of convenience and sticking with the status quo. But there was a time not so long ago before plastics. When things worth having cost a bit more, or took a bit longer, or we knew how to do without them.

You don’t have to revolutionize your life overnight, but I invite you to take a first step. Here are some of the changes I’ve made in my personal life and some that are on my list of what to do next:

  • unnamed-1Consider the “end of life” of each object and avoid the use of all plastics wherever possible
  • Choose reusable grocery bags and produce bags
  • Shop grocery products sold in cardboard boxes or glass jars
  • Refuse single use to-go cutlery
  • Use cloth placemats and napkins at home
  • Extensive use of kitchen towels to avoid using paper towels
  • Bring my own tumbler to the coffee shop
  • Replace my toothbrush with a bamboo alternative
  • Use a glass water bottle for travel
  • Cook my own food and eat the leftovers
  • Buy less – bring fewer new items into my home
  • Invest in a small space/balcony composter

What’s on your list? Share with us in the comments. Here is a great resource with tons of ideas to go even further: plastic free guide

Laura McCorry

Laura McCorry
Contributing Writer

Yoga and Laura had an on-again-off-again relationship from 2004 until 2009 when they decided to move in together and there’s been no looking back since. Passionate about both yoga and writing, Laura loves to introduce others to the joys and benefits of yoga and healthy living.


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