Birthing Ayurveda: Week 14—Clean Up
Welcome to Birthing Ayurveda, where we follow one woman's pregnancy experience week by week—from a positive home pregnancy test all the way to delivery.
Through cleanliness and purity of body and mind (Saucha, Shudhi) comes a purification of the essence (sattva), a goodness and gladness of feeling, a sense of focus with intentness, the mastery and union of the senses, and a fitness, preparation and capability for self-realization.
—Patanjali, Yogasutras II.41
For those that are familiar with the Patanjali Yoga Sutras (the ancient scriptures that first talked about yoga) and its yamas (social disciplines) and niyamas (individual disciplines), you will recall that one of the niyamas is sauca (cleanliness). Over the years, this concept has broadened in its meaning and applicability in my life.
It went from applying cleanliness to my physical body and my room and house (removing clutter and keeping my body in proper shape), to understanding cleanliness as proper diet and not consuming things that are more toxic or not beneficial to my body. I have also appreciated being aware of toxins in my environment and the many sources of those toxins (household cleaners, detergents, plastics).
But on a deeper, more subtle level, sauca is about the cleanliness of the mind—removing anger, pride, deceit, greed, and all defilements of the mind. It has been my experience that the grosser physical, and the more subtle mental, are intimately connected. The more I clean my external environment, the more I see my mind shift towards purity. Likewise, as I work on my internal environment, I become more organized, less cluttered, and I have noticed that even my color preferences may change (I may choose lighter, more sattvic colors, for instance).
Since my body and Charlie’s body (Charlie is what we call the baby) are practically one, bringing sauca to my mind, body, and environment will do the same to Charlie’s. Over the last month or two I have really been working on my internal sauca. This week I started considering strongly how to increase sauca in my external environment and see if I can do anything else to decrease any hazards or toxicity externally.
Here is my overall checklist:
Making a few changes with even just some of these tips can change the entire feel of your home. See how you feel physically and mentally by embracing this very powerful niyama.