Taking Saucha "off the mat" answers the question, "How did I get here?" and offers a practice to remove the things that no longer serve you.Jan 17, 2023
Taking saucha "off the mat" answers the question, "How did I get here?" and offers a practice to remove the things that no longer serve you.
Yesterday, I did a trending Tik-Tok “Age Camera”, no make-up, no smile so my laugh lines do not show, and it set me at 40 years old so at 52, I’m feeling pretty good. Yet inviting the creators of the App to judge my appearance is ridiculous. I must omit I downloaded the App consciously, but mindless to the effects it can have on my mental and emotional state. What if it had said, 62 years old? What would I do with that information? Apps, like this seem harmless at first and no one is forcing me to participate but it's everywhere, easy to access and designed to lure me in. The amount of self infecting judgement and the accumulation of such digital input without any scientific evidence or care is dangerous to the psyche.
I’m proud of my selfcare practices however, I omit, I struggle with distraction and have allowed my mental and emotional health slide. I've gotten so caught up in my physical well-being my brain has suffered and I’m sure I’m not alone here. I look in the mirror and ask myself, how did I get here?
I got here through mindless acceptance to the barrage of incoming information and saying yes to projects without having a conversation regarding boundaries, in lieu to consciously selecting, researching and having the tough conversation with colleagues. So much has become the "norm" and the qualities of chivalry doesn't exist online and rarely seen in person; that's been my experience, lately. Everyone is so busy and self absorbed that finding reliable information and like-minded groups that do not have self servicing motives has become more and more challenging. The disconnect between my body and mind has become more apparent, too. The evidence shows up when I’m ice skating or hiking, the body is not as strong or doesn't have the same endurance as when I was in my twenties and thirties. This isn’t a shocker but it’s one of many firsts on my horizon as my physical changes.
I remember the first year of my son’s life…every day we were experiencing his firsts; the first time he tasted a lemon, or discovered his toes. I was always delighted to watch him make these discoveries. As a new Mom, I strived to maintain a routine but his "firsts" kept changing the finish line causing an endless roller coaster ride. I experienced moments of exhilaration, frustration and exhaustion. Once I surrendered and removed my unreasonable expectations to be the perfect Mom, the roller coaster smoothed out with fewer twists and turns. I remember making a conscious effort to remove the obstacles that caused difficulties unaware at the time I was applying the principles of Saucha.
Saucha is the mindful practice to remove impurities that cause dis-ease. It's taking responsibility for the choices we make for our body (physical) , mind (mental) and heart (emotional).
Today, I’m on another roller coaster ride…perimenopause, silver hair, and my favorite unrelenting muffin top. This is my time to experience more firsts and knowing this I’m approaching the ride as a rite of passage. I can choose how to respond to the roller coaster’s continuous undulations, twists, and turns. The time spent with my son had moments of difficulties, questions, and meltdowns; now equipped with the practices of Saucha my attitude is shifting to curiosity, exploration, and humility.
I would like to acknowledge that you may not be on this specific middle-aged women’s ride but I’m confident you are on a ride. Working through my own challenges, I've adapted and weaved the ancient teachings with the advancement of neuroscience to offer an "off the mat" guide to support your health and overall wellness.
What is Saucha?
Saucha is a Sanskrit word and the first Niyama outlined in the Eight Limbs of Yoga. Saucha is a lifestyle practice to remove anything that is no longer serving you. The practice can be applied separately to the physical, mental, and emotional layers that make us who we are and how we show up. Applying the practice separately between the layers helps to be specific to the things that may be sabotaging your goals.
An example is sleep. Sleep will affect each layer: the physical, mental, and emotional however the thing causing the lack of sleep can be the one or a combination of the environment you live in, a mental stress at work, or in my case, menopause. Being on the menopause ride my body temperature can switch between being cold one moment and so hot the next minute I'm wiping sweat off my forehead. Each night this happens, I wake up. The effects of interrupted sleep dominos into my next day resulting in a lack of focus and clarity.
The lack of sleep is self-inflicted too, the habit of staying up late and watching mindless television or what is now referred to as doomscrolling can reinforce negative thoughts impacting your mental health. The solution is obvious - turn off the digital devices but sadly, for most, including myself isn’t so easy. The routines we create imprint neurological pathways that require a rewire. Embracing the lesson of Saucha and removing the obstacles, in this example the digital devices is the first step to rewire the brain.
Taking your first step "off the mat" begins with writing down the things and actions causing the unhealthy behavior and sabotaging your overall goals. It's important to be specific and helpful to organize your thoughts in three columns, physical \ mind \ emotion as shown below.
Physical: the body & environment
Our physical layer is the body, the physical vessel we inhabit, and the environment is the space we surround ourselves with.
Applying the practice of Saucha to our physical layer consider the products and things that accumulate and cause discomfort, dis-ease, and chaos. Here are body and environmental examples to consider removing:
The body: (things that you ingest that cause discomfort/disease/chaos)
- Chemicals in soaps, lotions, and detergents
The environment: (things that clutter and cause the space to be unpleasant)
- Piles of mail, magazines, newspapers
- Excess glassware, dishes & appliances
- Excess clothing, shoes & accessories
- Dirt and grime buildup
Making changes in the body & environment can be hard and that’s why Saucha is defined as purification: a burning-off period. To make sustainable lifestyle shifts begins with the question, “How did I get here?” The answers lays in the neurological imprints - the daily repetitive choices creating the habitual routines.
The Mind: (outlets that are cause mental tension)
It really all begins with the mind as research has shown our brain is wired to feed on the negative simultaneously our human desire is to surround ourselves with people and things that support our safety, growth, and overall well-being.
Applying Saucha to heal and remove mental stress is often overlooked. Phrases like, "out of sight, out of mind" can no longer be an excuse. It's our personal responsibility to determine the best choices for our mental health strengthening the mental muscles to listen to our inner voice. Here are a few mental tension examples that could be harming the very thing you are trying to heal:
- Mindless television & reels
- Looking at friends & family through social media only
Something as simple as a cell phone notification can trigger an unnecessary distraction pulling you from the task at hand. When this happens repeatedly the brain loses its ability to maintain focus for longer periods of time. Placing the phone in another room and turning off the notifications will remove the physical distraction simultaneously, exercising the neurological pathways to create a healthier mental neurological imprint.
Emotional Space: (feelings and sensations)
The practice of Saucha supports the removal of the emotional barriers, too like fear and sadness.
- Unsafe Relationships | Groups | Organizations
- Fear | Frustration | Sadness
Making choices related to relationships and acknowledging that a person or group feels unsafe is a sensitive situation to navigate. It's human nature to feel emotion and without fear we cannot know joy. Once you take the courageous steps to remove yourself or others from the tonic environment the ride will smooth out.
I would like to acknowledge; I am not a trained health professional, and to remove yourself or others from your environment may not be possible for so many reasons I cannot state here. I am here to encourage you; tell you there are more people like you and help is available. If you have found yourself in a dangerous relationship, please reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233.
Honoring your Saucha
You honor the practice of Saucha by taking responsibility and owning your choices. The things you may perceive as failures or obstacles are the lessons you learn. Once you accept your lessons, your mindset shifts and YOU GROW.
Reflection | Study | Application
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