I’ve definitely been guilty of letting my yoga mat get a little funky.

You figure, “Hey, it’s my stench. What’s the big?”

Saucha (cleanliness or purity) is the first niyama (positive and ethical observances). It guides us down the path of being mindful about excess and stabilizing our relationship with what purity means to us. If you’re curious about how to practice saucha, let’s begin with your yoga mat.

How to practice saucha when it comes to our yoga mats

Why am I making such a big deal over this? It’s just a mat. If it’s dirty, I’m only rolling around in my own filth. That’s totally fine. Except that it isn’t. If our yoga mat is a metaphor for our lives, we can’t continue to dive head first into negative thoughts, impure intentions, and unclear actions. We must have enough self-worth to provide ourselves a clean yoga mat to practice on so we can establish the importance of pure feelings that translate into how we behave and what we value.

It’s important to be considerate of others

If we treat our yoga mat as if it doesn’t matter, does that translate into how we treat our bodies? Maybe. Probably. Just as it feels so much better to live inside a clean home, practicing on a pure sweet-smelling surface will only enhance the experience of our practice. And other people really appreciate it when they practice next to someone who took the time to bathe and put on fresh clothing. Have you ever set up your mat next to someone who smells like they have zero relationships with soap or deodorant? I have and it sucked. You try not to let it ruin your practice. But let’s be real. It does. It’s an easy solution regarding how to practice saucha and it benefits everyone.

How to practice saucha via asanas

It’s likely you’re already doing these. But in case you’re not, or you blow off one or two, use this easy guideline to incorporate how to practice saucha into every practice, even if it’s a home practice and there’s no one there to offend.

  • Take a bath or shower. It can be quick. Hit all the important parts and literally wash the impurities from your body.
  • Try daily dry brushing and massage sesame oil into your skin. More impurities will vacate your body and self-care will instill the fact into your brain that you are worth it.
  • Set up your space thoughtfully. Lay out your mat. Hopefully, you washed it after your last practice. But washing it again before using it sets the tone for pure thoughts and intentions. Use an incredible mat spray that has essential oils to imbue sweetness and instill specific intentions. Try the Citrus Eucalyptus Yoga Mat Spray from Mystic Ginger Apothecary (included in the this month’s Yogi Surprise box). It will compel you to get on your mat and stay there to soak up the goodness.
  • Share. We learned this in kindergarten. It’s the perfect way to make new friends and contribute to the happiness and well-being of another in such an easy and instinctual way. Offer the person practicing next to you some of your mat spray or essential oil so they can cleanse their own palate and pursue the important and inspired practice of saucha.