Purity protects one’s body and brings nonphysical relationships with others
“Purity, physical as well as mental, is our first duty to the body and to the mind. It comprises external and internal physical cleanliness, that is to say, detoxification practices, as well as intellectual and moral rectitude.” –Bernard Bouanchaud
We chose to center the philosophy or dharma portion of our 30 Days to Equanimity challenge on the Yamas and Niyamas as outlined in The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The Yamas and Niyamas are the first two limbs on the eight-limb path to self-realization. They are ten ethical principals that help us create peace with ourselves, in our relationships and our community.
Since we only have four weeks together we decided to focus on just two Yamas and two Niyamas. This past week was the first Niyama, we covered Saucha or cleanliness and purity.
Don’t get caught up on the idea of literal purity. Pantanjali says:
“Look more deeply at what the body is: The more you clean it, the more you realize that it is an impermanent thing. Saucha helps break up excessive fixation with your body, or the bodies of others.”
Then, purity, clarity, and well-being of the spirit come to flower, as well as concentration, mastery of the sense organs, and perception of the inner being.
When you learn to disidentify with the body, the Yoga Sutras suggests, you can get in touch with your essence—the part of you that’s pure and free from aging, disease, and decay. When you understand your true undying nature, it’s easier to stop striving for physical perfection and instead rest in joyful awareness.
Each week we also have an asana focus that relates to the weekly theme. With saucha in mind we are working on twists for their detoxifying and purifying benefits.Twists are an amazing family of postures that help neutralize and balance the body. Below are just a few reasons to twist!
-Create flexibility in the hips and shoulders
-Stimulate the digestion system and wring out abdominal organs
-Relieve back and neck aches
A final component of our challenge this week is an optional, 3-day juice cleanse from Super Food Bar. We are on our second day of juices, smoothies, nut milks and detox elixirs! Definitely a challenge but hopefully rewarding and refreshing at the end.
About the Author: Shannon is our Studio Manager as well a instructor here at Reyn Studios. She is currently co-leading a 30 day program that examines the aspects of yoga beyond the physical practice.