Saucha is a yogic observation of cleanliness. This discipline is practiced to remove everything that stands in the way of our connection to the divine. In recovery we approach this as well. We have steps to keep our attitudes, behaviors and relationships in right order (particularly steps four and ten, as well as six and seven.) We work through the steps to gain unfettered access to our higher power. In the rooms we talk about “keeping our side of the street clean”, a very telling phrase as it is often MUCH easier to observe and make suggestions to another before looking at and changing oneself. I know. I have worked on this for a while.
Yogis start with saucha at a physical level. Cleanliness and tidiness prepare us for deeper review of ourselves. Keeping our rooms, our spaces our goods clean is a beginning. Use of the neti pot, the tongue scraping, and other digestive system practices remove toxins from the body. Advanced breath practices clean the respiratory system. Along with the physical practices of cleaning the body, prevention comes in: having a clean lifestyle moves us toward the divine and away from ways and things that will bring impurity – impurity to body, mind and spirit. As we attend to the physical the mental and spiritual cleanliness follow. We head in the ultimate direction of harmony in body, mind and spirit.
In early recovery we may need to learn some basic forms of self care, routine, and tidiness. Keeping a clean sink, a clean bed, and clean rooms can be a difficult discipline. Being accountable, responsible and presentable can be a “tall order”, but through these practices we can gain self esteem. I worked on this for a long time- finding balance; not going overboard into perfection, and not skimping either. Later in recovery I found I also needed to keep the quality of my relationships clean. This was not only continuing the practices of non-lying, non-stealing and non-harming (to name a few) but in understanding MYSELF and how I responded to others. I needed to dig into my motives, of pride and manipulation, of wanting and avoiding. In this way I was finding cleanliness of spirit that would bring me closer to my higher power.
My other program recovery challenges were that I had to acquire tools to keep my on my own side of the street- to know what was mine to do and not mine to do. I needed to learn to call myself to rights when taking the inventory of another person. Practicing to responding appropriately to what is before me and not what I want to have before me was a big step. Using acceptance in seeing what IS as it is and noting that it is NOT all about me. I am learning to respond from my insides not your outsides. Yours is not mine to change. I stay clean of ulterior motives when I ask for something, say something or do something. I stay neat and tidy unto myself. That does not mean that I don’t relate or respond. I do so respecting you and your opinion, your space.
Yoga suggests that we are practicing in order to gain mastery over the senses, and a fitness, qualification or capability for self realization. The program, too, encourages us to work the steps in order to have the spiritual awakening. To find our connection with our divine spirit; inside and out. Yoga and recovery support one another on this beautiful path.
Saucha is a daily practice. Wake up, make your bed, brush your teeth, use your “mental floss” in meditation, move your physical body and breath deeply. Tidy up and head into your day refreshing your spiritual connection in all that you do.
Kyczy Hawk E-RYT200, RTY500 is the author of “Yoga and the Twelve Step Path”, a leader of Y12SR classes, and the creator of SOAR(tm) (Success Over Addiction and Relapse). This certification training now available in an ONLINE study course. http://www.yogarecovery.com/SOAR__tm__Cert_all.html Scroll to the end of the page and sign up now.
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