A Pure Heart is a Happy Heart

What yogic philsophy teaches us about purity

Today we examine the first Niyama, Saucha which translates as purity or cleanliness. The Niyamas are personal disciplines or observances, of which there are five, just like the Yamas.

This is the eighth post in a series of posts about the 8 Limbs. Last week we finished the first limb, but if you’d like to read the other seven and an overview first, go here. I’ll wait.

One of the things I love most about the first two limbs is that they give us a lot to contemplate, and our thoughts can go in many directions surrounding them because their concepts are wide open. When we think of purity or cleanliness we think of our bodies, but there are many other aspect of life in which to direct these practices.

The Yoga Sutra’s overarching theme is liberation — uniting all of ourselves to find freedom in this physical form. It directs us into the most efficient ways of harnessing and using our energy.

Our bodies are reflections of our mind, and if we use our energy wisely, our minds are also of greater use to us. If, however, we use our bodies mishappedly, our minds follow.

When thinking about Saucha, cleanliness or purity, think in terms of mind, body and soul.

Simple ways to practice Saucha

  • Shower every day. This is the most obvious one. Keep your body clean.
  • Practice meditation and/or a quieting practice each day to tend to the clutter of the mind.
  • Practice yoga and pranayama to purify the body. Really any physical exercise is great, but mindfulness is a necessary step.
  • Increase your water intake. Most of us don’t drink enough water.
  • Fast and/or juice to rid yourself of impurity and build up.
  • Keep your living space clean and free of clutter. The less stuff, the more available we are to ourselves.
  • Pray. Go to church or be in community with others who practice similar spiritual values.
  • Keep your language pure and kind toward and about others — and yourself.
  • Be in the NOW with word and deed. Lessoning the ego’s grip is a great way to practice Saucha.
  • Do any practices that support staying true to your heart and your values.

Can you think of others? Please let me know. May your burden be light and your soul free. That’s really what all of these practices point to.

Thanks for reading. Did you enjoy? Please tap the clappy hands 💚 (as many times as you’d like) to recommend it to others. Namaste …


Hi! I’m Heather, a writer and yoga educator from SE Ohio. I share daily-ish here as part of my spiritual practice, and am working on my first book, Yoga Prayers. Download the first 25 pages, A Prelude to Yoga Prayers, for a brief introduction into yoga history and philosophy — and let me know what you think! Yogis, I’m also looking for stories to include in the full version of the book — how you came to yoga, what you’re learning, how you’re applying the 8 Limbs. Reach out! I’d love to hear from you.