Keep it Simple, Shaucha

Simplicity_Walden Pond_Thoreau“Let us first be as simple and well as Nature ourselves, dispel the clouds which hang over our brows, and take up a little life into our pores. Do not stay to be an overseer of the poor, but endeavor to become one of the worthies of the world,” Walden, Henry David Thoreau.In The Yoga Sutras, a collection of aphorisms on yoga practice, Patanjali explains what yoga is, how it works, and how to purify the mind so it can settle into silence.  The yamas and niyamas are the laws of life and the rules of living and are part of the eightfold path of classical yoga.  Saucha, one of the “rules of living” is most often translated as “simplicity,” “purity,” or “cleanliness.”

But, you don’t have to move to the woods and live deliberately to simplify your life.   Purification can begin with a gesture as simple as cleaning out your closets, donating long forgotten books and shoes, or clearing your mind to make room for…space.

What’s cluttering your cranial cupboard?  For me,  fear is the demon I struggle with that can take up a lot of real estate.  And yet, fear is not only immaterial, but it’s rooted in a fictitious future that hasn’t happened.   You would think that filling your mind with space would allow more negative thoughts to fill it, but it’s just the opposite.   When you let go of the thoughts that pre-occupy and already overworked egoic consciousness, what’s left is infinite space that pushes out the mental chatter.

So, empty your walk-in wardrobe, clear out the closets of your mind, get rid of what doesn’t serve you, and live Shaucha.


-Your Charmed Yogi

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