Saturday Morning Sanskrit: Saucha

Well it’s not exactly morning…

During the past few weeks we’ve been talking about the yamas, which are like a set a of guidelines for social behavior (click here for the last one with links to all the others). Next up in Patanjali’s eight-limbed path are the niyamas. They’re more about our personal attitudes. The first one is Saucha~Purity.

The eight-limbed path

Outer purity/cleanliness relates to our physical self and our surrounding areas. Then there’s taking care of our bodies (eating right, exercising, practicing yoga). Inner purity refers to the quality of our thoughts.

Oh how we’d all love to walk around daydreaming about blue skies and pink flowers while forgiving and forgetting about anyone or anything that ticks us off. I haven’t mastered purity of thoughts yet so I checked to see what the Yoga Sutras says on the subject:

“When disturbed by negative thoughts, opposite (positive) ones should be thought of.”

~translation of Sutra 2.33 by Sri Swami Satchidanananda

Definitely easier said than done. One way to go about changing our thoughts is by focusing on the breath. Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh has so many beautiful meditations and mantras that really do work. Here’s one of my favorite’s (although the whole thing is amazing, I love to close my eyes and repeat the first two lines over and over):


Breathing in, I know I am breathing in.
Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.

Breathing in, I notice my breath has become deep.
Breathing out, I notice my breath has become slow.

Breathing in, I calm my body and my mind.
Breathing out, I am at ease.

Breathing in, I smile.
Breathing out, I release.

Breathing in, I got back to the present moment.
Breathing out, I know this is a wonderful moment.

In, Out.
Deep. Slow.
Calm. Ease.
Smile. Release.
Present moment, Wonderful moment.
What are your thoughts on keeping a pure mind? Any tricks for getting rid of negative thoughts?


Filed under Yoga

4 responses to “Saturday Morning Sanskrit: Saucha

  1. I just try to focus on the fleeting moment of the thought. I mean, if I let it go, it won’t come back, and it only exists for that moment. Clearly, my mind is not pure, but every thought is only a moment and between those moments are the places where that purity may begin.

  2. I love this suggestion. We can recognize negative thoughts and accept that they are temporary. They’re not stuck with us!

  3. Pingback: Saturday Morning Sanskrit: Santosha | veggievinyasa

  4. Pingback: Saturday Morning Sanskrit: Svadhyaya | veggievinyasa

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