The Happy Yoga Podcast

Purification (Saucha): How Yoga can encourage a healthy mind & body.

September 30, 2022 Jo Hutton
The Happy Yoga Podcast
Purification (Saucha): How Yoga can encourage a healthy mind & body.
Show Notes Transcript

Purification (Saucha): the first of the observations (Niyamas) .

It is advisable to listen to "The Yoga Sutras" episode before you listen to this one.

In recent years the definition of "purity" within the yoga community has been up for debate because it can be interpreted to mean purifying the body from toxins and "eating clean" etc, but there are so many other (and less harmful) interpretations of this Niyamas.

In this episode, Jo talks about how we could be more aware of our consumption of things that we may be relying on to feel a certain way - social media to feel connected, alcohol to feel relaxed etc and how we can observe and change the habits, behaviours or rituals that no longer nourish us.

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So we've made it to the Nemers and this is the second limb of yoga. So if you have no idea what I'm talking about, go back, go back, listen to the yoga sutras episode, then listen to the episodes before this, because you may. Get a bit lost. If you don't know what the eight limbs of yoga are, so I'm not gonna explain it in every episode, just go back and listen to the yoga Sutra episode. Which is number two, because we have finally made it, we had five episodes explain in the Yammers and now we're onto the second limb of yoga, which is Nemers and whereas the Yammers were restraints. So things that. Didn't do the NEMS or observances. So things that you try and do and they aren't very linked the Yammers and the Nemers remember there's not with the limbs of yoga. There isn't a hierarchy. One's not more important than the other they're kind of designed to be observed together. So they're kind of designed to be all together. And. The first of the Neers is purification. So I think there's been a lot of talk around this in the yoga community. It used to be translated and thought of. Around purifying the body from toxins and things like that. But I think that is a lot less relevant now. So I'm not sure how comfortable I am with the term. Like purification, because I think that for something to be pure, there also needs to be something that is, is dirty. It feels like you, you clean in something. Which I think can be quite unhelpful for a lot of people, especially people who have histories. Eating disorders and things like that. I think that when we put things into categories, especially things like food into pure and IUR it can create dichotomies in the head, which can be unhelpful when We're trying to live a life in the world with lots of complexities and great areas. So the way that I understand purification the way that I apply it to my life is that I try and understand that we are literally made up of the things that we consume. So. Our personalities, obviously we're born with a bit of a personality, but then how we are molded, how we are as people is very, very influenced by the things that we're consuming, the people we're hanging around our ideas come from the media that we're consuming. The things that we see the things that happen in our lives. All of these things are creating the fabric of who we are. So everything that we are is a make up of things that we consume, and that can be very literal. So we are the food that we eat. It creates the energy. We only have the energy of the food we eat. So if we're not consuming it, then we're not getting the energy from it. And it's the same with people. We hang around with the books we read, how we spend our time. Everything that we're doing is making us, Having an awareness of that allows us to have the knowledge and the choice. Empowers us to make decisions about, well, how do we want to be. if we consume this, then this is how we are going to be made. And this isn't a morality thing. I, I keep saying this and it's so important that it's not a morality thing. And it's not where one's better than another thing. It's about us making the choices. About who do we wanna be? I don't think it's necessarily about what we are consuming and quite often it's about what we're not consuming, especially when it comes to things like ideas and our brains, because. I think the media that we're consuming has a massive impact on the way that we feel about ourselves our brain can't tell the difference between something that is actually happening to us and something that we're seen on screen. So if we spend all day, every day, reading really distress and things and things that we don't have any power over. It's no wonder that we would feel powerless and distressed. And I know I made a decision around the media that I consume recently, and it has. Kelsey breeze. It's made a massive difference to how I feel and it's the same with food. So I am not a nutritionist. I don't have a perfect diet. I wouldn't want a perfect diet. I think our consumption and our needs are much more important than just nutritional. But. Haven't that knowledge that if I just eat food that doesn't have any nutritional value, then I'm not gonna get any nutritional value. And therefore I'm not gonna be able to build muscle. I'm not gonna be able to have the energy any to get through the day. if I don't have the energy to build muscle in years time when I don't have the muscle definition to get off, up and down off a chair like that, what we consume has consequences and. Being able to take a step back and make an informed adult decision about how do we want that to look like in our lives, without it becoming a morality thing of like, I am bad because I ate something that was IUR it's how is it nourishing you? Is it nourishing you in a different way? Like take example, an example of a birthday cake, the social enrichment is nourishing the being together in a room, having a lovely cake with friends that is very nourishing. It's just nourishing in a different way. You're still going to be getting energy but if you ate that every single day and ate nothing else, then you wouldn't be getting the nourishment from the other things as well. So it's about balance and having a bit of distance so that you can make these informed decisions about your nourishment. So also in our society, we have a lot of things that feel like they should be nourishing, but they're actually empty. And what I mean by that is we almost have these facades of healthy things of, of nourishing things. So things with empty calories, empty connection. So I'm gonna use the example of social media. I really like social media. I'm not the type of person who is, you must not be on social media in order to be a yoga person. I think that social media is just like everything else. It's a tool and it's not inherently good or bad. It's how you interact with that tool, which determines whether it's helpful or unhelpful for you. I have to be very mindful of my consumption of social media because I do love it a little bit too much. But I also know that what I want from social media is connection. So I think I've. Said this in past episodes. I'll say it again. I love people. I need to connect with people. I get energy from other people and during the pandemic I like everyone else on the planet. Wasn't able to get the connection that I needed. In real life. So what did we do? We all turned to social media and it's like a shortcut for connection. So it's a little bit like drinking salt water because you're looking for the connection. you go on social media, you get a bit of a dopamine hit, but you don't necessarily get the connection that you were craving. You get like this junk food of connection. So it feels like you're connecting, it's like having a fast food meal, it fills you up, but you're hungry again, half an hour later. And so with social media, you, you, you go on it wanting that connection. But you don't get that connection. It just feels like you get that connection, but then you, then you want it again. So then you'd go on social media again, looking for that connection. Cuz you kind of feel like you got the connection, but you didn't quite, so your brain's saying, oh, well try that again. Go on social media again. See if you can get that again. Let's try it again. And then you. Then you're kind of on social media, but it's really unsatisfying and you're not really wanting to be on it, but you're getting something from it, and now you're knack it and you don't wanna go and do the socializing in real life, cuz you're tired cause you spend all your time on social media. And what I think is important is that. Look at what is the thing that we're wanting to get from the action? So another example of this is when I, I did a thing a couple of years ago where I gave up alcohol for a hundred days. And I didn't have any problem with my drinking or anything like that. It was just literally that I'd noticed that I had, I think it was actually just after lockdown. So what had happened was I had, as everyone else, I had got into a habit of maybe having a glass of wine at night cuz you know, you weren't going anywhere. And my alcohol consumption had gone up. And I thought, you know, I'm just gonna have a hundred days without. Had absolutely no problem with alcohol, but I just wanted a break. And it was really, really interesting because what I discovered was that 99% of the times that I wanted drink were either because I was bored or because I wanted a ritual. or because I wanted a connection with people. So I loved the ritual around alcohol. Like I love the treat. Like you going to get a glass of wine it feels like a treat. So it was really difficult at the beginning. For me to understand how to replace that, because I was thinking I wanted a drink, but I didn't want a drink. It wasn't the alcohol that I wanted. Quite often, it was actually the marker of the end of the work day or the beginning of the weekend, it was like a, it was a ritual to mark a celebration. And it was also really good bonding experience with other people. So I found when I didn't have alcohol, it was really difficult to have that same connection with people. Not because they had changed or I had changed. It was just that. There's something a bit subversive and being in it together of like, oh, let's go for a drink. There's something about like being in it together. And so I had to find other ways of doing that. And also when you were drunk, you were able to have conversations. And I hadn't even noticed this about myself, but you can have conversations that you might not have had in a different setting. So in a pub. You might tell your friends, you love them. You might have conversations about you, relationships. It's not necessarily the alcohol and it's more the social rules change because you've had a drink. It's another social contract. So it was really interesting to not be drinking and to look at what it was that I was wanting to get out of alcohol. That wasn't actually the alcohol. It was just fascinating because. I think there's that with other things as well. So sometimes what we're wanting isn't necessarily the thing it's the ritual around it, or it's the thing that, that thing can give us. So if you have a behavior that maybe you don't. Like maybe it's online shopping. It doesn't have to be a massively harmful behavior, just a behavior that you are not getting any enjoyment out of, but you're not, you you've, you've kind of got into the habit of it. But it's not nourishing you anymore. What is it that that behavior gives you, that you are looking for? And for me, that awareness of it, that's what the purification is about. It's about being aware of your consumption, being aware of what that consumption's given you and having control over it. So it's not controlling you. But also not feeling guilty about it because if you could just be like, well, we'll just all eat healthy and not drink and be pure and blah, blah, blah, then, well, if it was that simple, we would just all do it. Wouldn't we? But there's so much more at play. So not feeling guilty about getting your needs met if they are meeting your needs There's nothing wrong with sitting on TikTok and being on social media. It's only a problem once it's a problem. And once it's a problem, if that's not meeting our needs, can we get that need met elsewhere instead? I feel like that one was a bit Ramly but, sometimes they are. Sometimes they are. So join me next time for the next of the Nemers. If you have any questions, comments, thoughts about that as always, I would love to hear from you