Sauca: How Cleanliness Paves the Path to Holistic Health


his article excerpt covers Yoga Sutra 2.41 and centers around the Sanksrit word: Sauca.  Again, what you read below is an introduction to the Yoga Sutras and  a part of our broader series covering the Yoga Sutras for Beginners, which is 15 article excerpts in total. 

Each of the article excerpts within this series will give you a sneak peek into the wonderful work created by Yogi and author, Melissa Lavery, whose complete book, The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Freedom is available at select distributors throughout the US as well as Amazon’s online bookstore.

All content excerpts are provided with permission by the publisher.

The book itself is organized into 3 parts and further divided into each of the 15 categories below:

The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Relationships

  1. Shanti: How to Maintain Personal Peace and Power in Relationships
  2. Yama: How to Eliminate Suffering and Cultivate a Better Relationship with the World
  3. Niyama: How to Cultivate a Better Relationship with Yourself and Commit to Personal Self-Care
  4. Pratipaksa Bhavana: How to Navigate Conflicting World-views and Build Relationships with Anyone
  5. Samadhi: How the Inner Journey Toward Self Will Bring You Closer to the Divine Consciousness

The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Health

  1. Asana: The Health Benefits of a Physical Practice (On and Off the Mat)
  2. Pranayama: How to Maintain Health Through Breath Awareness
  3. Samyama: How to Travel the Meditative Path to Health and Wellness
  4. Nidra: How to Improve Your Sleep Quality to Enhance Health and Wellness
  5. Sauca: How Cleanliness Paves the Path to Holistic Health

The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Abundance

  1. Klesa: How to Eliminate Ego’s Control and Cultivate an Identity that Attracts Abundance
  2. Satya: How Authenticity Leads to Attracting Abundance
  3. Astreya: How to Practice Non-Stealing to Attract Wealth and Abundance
  4. Aparigraha: How the Practice of Non-Hoarding Can Benefit Your Wallet and Illumniate Your Path
  5. Sadhana: How Consistent Practice Creates a Strong Foundation for an Abundant Life

The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Freedom

Sauca: How Cleanliness Paves the Path to Holistic Health

Moreover, one gains purity of sattva, cheerfulness of mind, one-pointedness, master over the senses, and fitness for Self-realization.

A clear relationship exists between cleanliness and health. Physical fitness, hygiene, mental clarity, and emotional regulation produce a powerful package that supports inner and outer health. It is through the valuable practice of yoga that one can begin to observe cleanliness in a way that acts to deeply purify the body, mind, and spirit. 

When we choose to lead a cleaner life, we simplify it. When we simplify our lives, they become cleaner. Clean living consists of intentionally choosing products that go into, on, and around our bodies that align with the fundamental principles of Yama and Niyama. These first two limbs of Aṣṭāṅga Yoga consist of

  1. Non-violence (Ahiṁsā)
  2. Truthfulness (Satya)
  3. Non-stealing (Asteya)
  4. Conserving vital energy (Brahmacharya)
  5. Non-hoarding (Aparigrahā)
  6. Cleanliness (Śauca)
  7. Contentment and gratitude (Saṁtoṣa)
  8. Causing positive change (Tapas)
  9. Independent study (Svādhyāya)
  10. Humility and faith (Īśvara-Praṇidhāna)

Discussed earlier in this book, these limbs describe a process and practice that work to purify the body, mind, and spirit through dedication to behaviors that clarify the whole human. This chapter will now focus more intently on cleanliness, which can be observed and practiced through maintaining the following:

  1. Clean body: hygiene, diet, exercise
  2. Clean environment: home, community, planet
  3. Clean heart-mind: mental, emotion, and spiritual center

Through practicing yoga, especially the eight limbs of Aṣṭāṅga Yoga, it is possible to increase vitality and support health. Health and wellness attract positive experiences and radiate to the collective, just as water ripples throughout a pond. When you take responsibility to maintain a clear heart-mind-body, you increase joy and stamina in your own life, and shine like an example of pure white light to all those around you.

What is Sattva and How Does It Lead to Health?

As is a foundational principle in science, the principles of yoga recognize that all matter is composed of energy. In yoga, this energy substance from which all matter exists is Prakṛiti. Prakṛiti is the “nature” of all (often referred to as the proper noun “Nature”), and it is comprised of three essential “qualities or attributes” called guṇas. The three guṇas are 

  1. Rajas (activity and restlessness): This quality is the state of attachment, passion, and change.
  2. Tamas (inertia and dullness): This quality is the state of heaviness, inactivity, and apathy.
  3. Sattva (purity and balance): This quality is the state of gratitude, harmony, and equanimity. 

All three guṇas are present in us all, and all three are necessary in certain quantities and at certain times. However, it is sattva and sattvic activities that balance and protect the body, mind, and spirit from the harm that rajas and tamas can create. Sattva is Beauty, Truth, and Love. It is the gentle and pure essence of anything we put into, on, and around our Being.

Cleanliness is an aspect of sattva. It is in cleanliness that we can obtain “cheerfulness of mind, one-pointedness, mastery over the senses, and fitness for Self-realization” (Sūtra 2.41). Honest intention leads to honest action. Honest action is choosing sattvic activities, ingredients, and behaviors. This purity will support physical health through diet, exercise, and daily routines. This purity will support mental health through calmness, focus, and contentment. This purity will support emotional and spiritual health through relationship, purpose, and positivity.

The Benefits of Maintaining a Clean Body

The physical body is the first place to start when choosing a clean lifestyle. The body is a difficult machine to keep clean, as it naturally collects and produces undesirable substances. The skin ages, the muscles ache, and the other parts of the body are a daily reminder that ailments are a part of life. Even though maintenance of this earthly vehicle is not a guarantee for health, it is a pathway toward eliminating the ailments that plague the body. Physical cleanliness consists of good hygiene, diet, and fitness, and it increases longevity and performance.

… (end of excerpt)

The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Freedom

Wrapping Up

… to continue reading from this chapter of The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Freedom please visit and order from the book’s page on Again, we hope you found this valuable and wish you health and happiness along your journey. Namaste.

Caleb Sharbono is a writer, bio-hacker, wellness advocate, and yogi. Caleb, who grew up on a small Montana ranch, joined the Navy at 17 to study cryptology. He later graduated from the US Naval Academy with a Minor in Mandarin, a Bachelor's in General Engineering, and a Major in English Literature. Caleb's interests and career cover diverse industries and disciplines. Caleb lives in San Antonio and is a Certified Yoga Instructor. He is also studying Zen Buddhism, practicing Holistic Psychology, and working towards his 300-hour yoga teacher training.


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