The Sanskrit term Saucha derives from ancient Indian books and can be literally translated as “purity", "cleanliness" and “clearness”.
Saucha is the first of the five Niyamas in Yoga, the principles of yoga philosophy, which can be seen as guidelines for a happy life. Saucha is all about living your purest life and covers the cleanliness of the body and the earth, as well as the purity of mind.
The practice of Saucha starts with the environment, by keeping the surroundings clean. It moreover reminds one to live a healthy and sustainable life, while keeping the body and mind pure. A healthy diet, personal hygiene and self-care are all considered Saucha; and are therefore essential for happiness and general well-being. But how do we put Saucha into practice in our daily lives?
Saucha integrated within our environment
You probably recognise that when your home is a mess, your mind can often feel stuck and messy too. When we are surrounded by a clean environment, we’re likely to feel a lot better and clearer in our minds. That's Saucha. A small example that probably sounds familiar: you pick up the vacuum cleaner because you see some dirt on the floor, and while you are vacuuming you see some dust on that cabinet that irritates you and after that tea mock from yesterday and before you know it, you have a clean and tidy space. You feel there is space to breath again. Great feeling right? Cleaning and organising our physical environment has a similar effect on our mind. Saucha!
But Saucha in our environment goes beyond our walls. It's also about cleaning up the waste outside our house, in nature. Nature is supposed to be in its pure state as it is, without plastic bottles, ice-cream wrappings or any other trash. Any help we can add to clean our nature is considered Saucha. By using one of Saucha's products, you are automatically doing your bit, as our bottles are made from 100% recycled plastic and 50 additional plastic bottles are collected for every item sold. But any extra help is a great step forward!
Saucha implemented into our nutrition
When following the guidelines of Saucha, it’s recommended eating a plant-based diet from organic and unprocessed foods in order to avoid toxins such as preservatives, additives and pesticides. It's all about having awareness about what we’re consuming.
Most of the products we buy have been processed (a little) in one way or another, which makes it difficult to entirely skip all processed foods. But it is advisable to avoid it as much as possible, as almost all processed foods contain too much sugar, salt and fat. Being aware of what processed foods are, already is a big help in making conscious choices every day. Some examples of processed foods you'd rather avoid in the supermarket are: tinned vegetables, savoury snacks, meat products, microwave meals, soft drinks and even some milk, bread and cheese.
Try to buy fruits and vegetables from sustainable and ecological markets, cheese from your favourite local cheese-shop and wholegrain bread from the local bakery. Of course, it isn’t always possible to eat organic or unprocessed foods as the prices can go sky-high. But it’s good to keep this goal in mind so that whenever we can, we try to eliminate the foods containing preservatives, additives and pesticides. These toxins influence our health - physically and mentally - way more than we think, and are counterproductive to the practise of Saucha. If foods contain lots of these toxins, our bodies have to work hard to detoxify and eliminate them before even being able to absorb the good nutrients from within.
Freshly prepared foods contain much more energy, providing our body with the fuel and nutrients it needs to purify itself. Make these real, whole foods the base of your diet. It is recommended to eat 30 different plant-based products per week (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts & seeds, beans & lentils). This is a good indication that you are getting enough variety in nutrients and can be used as an easy rule of thumb.
And I wish it was different, but even fresh fruits and vegetables can contain chemicals and preservatives. This is why it’s so important to wash all fruits and vegetables (even organic) the right way using a vegetable and fruit cleaner. Luckily Saucha’s Castile Soap can also be used for that! Being the perfect 100% natural and safe wash for all your fruits and vegetables.
The cleaner our food is, the cleaner we’re going to be (and feel) inside and out. And of coooourse you can still love wine, cheese and what not. I do too! It’s about having awareness and a good balance of what we’re consuming, and making conscious choices to live a healthier and happier life. In the end, eating healthy shouldn’t be a stressful topic, but a joyful one! If you ever seek help, I can highly recommend having a look at Naela Health, she’s an Integrative Nutrition Coach and is here to help you to eat well & feel good.
Saucha within our skincare
As between 0% and 100% of what we apply to our skin can end up in our bloodstream, using 100% natural and organic skincare without toxins is as important as eating nourishing meals.
More on that topic can be found in this blog. Just like you nourish your body with organic food, your skin becomes happy from organic skin care products. It will work counterproductive if we do our best eating healthy, while using skincare products with synthetic ingredients. When you choose 100% natural and organic skincare, you use ingredients that work in harmony with your body, allowing your skin to better balance and repair itself, without toxins building up. It nourishes our body with the active ingredients it needs to shine from within, Saucha!
Saucha to create a pure state of mind
How do we create a pure state of mind? As a start, our environment often reflects our state of mind. As written above, creating a clean environment is the start of a pure and happy mind :).
Then we have tools such as meditation and pranayamas to calm the mind. In the ideal Saucha world, our mind is filled with pure and loving thoughts. However, pure thoughts don’t have to mean that we solely think so holy, it just means that we try not to think so badly. We each have a choice in how we act, and by directing our thoughts towards positivity, we can add positivity to our own lives and to the world around us.
Of course, there is still a place for negative emotions like anger, fear, and sorrow – these emotions are a part of life. Fully experiencing our full range of emotions is a part of a healthy mental state. But when we dwell in the negative emotions and start to project them outwards, they become unhealthy. By filtering what is unnecessary and focusing on the positive, we create a pure state of mind. When we are there, we have all the space for peace, love and kindness. That is the power and the beauty of practicing Saucha.
Some simple guidelines of how I try to apply Saucha into my own life:
Plant-based diet; I follow a plant-based diet for the biggest part of my nutrition, however, I do follow my own needs. For example, I do love cheese a lot, and whenever I feel like I need or want a piece of fish, I will. I believe you should never follow a diet under very strict rules, it should not even be seen as rules, it should come naturally - otherwise it will backfire at some point. As my mom has always been vegetarian and raised us vegetarian this comes naturally to me, however having a good balance and not forcing anything is key for me. Don’t be too strict on yourself :)
Meditation; I prefer self mediations, as that gives room for my thoughts to settle. This playlist is my favourite and really feels like a massage to my mind and my brain. I’m quite picky on guided meditations, as I often feel it doesn’t bring me to my own headspace, except for Maaike van Ees. She’s so good, pure and honest and has such beautiful words. Can highly recommend her! (for Dutch guided meditations)
Pranayamas; also known as breathing exercises, are amazing detoxifiers. Kapalabhati is especially detoxifying, which I like to do at the end of my yoga practice. Other great and easy pranayamas are: box breathing, alternating nostril breathing and Kumbhaka. You can also apply these at the beginning of your meditation to calm your mind.
MASSAGE; a massage is a highly effective way of detoxifying the body. It helps to eliminate the toxins build up in the tissues, whereafter they are released into the bloodstream. That’s why it’s very important to drink plenty of water after your massage, so you flush all these toxins away. I do a massage every month at The Rub. I used to work there which made that possible, but I understand that that’s not always possible financially. You can always ask for a giftcard on your birthday in order to get that extra well-deserved massage!
Sauna; besides massages, saunas are great for flushing out the toxins that build up in your body's fat cells. Your kidneys are detoxification powerhouses, and the intense sweating you can enjoy while spending time in a sauna can clear out about one-third of the toxic material that your kidneys remove from your bloodstream. I try to go to the sauna at least twice a year and recently discovered Fort Resort Beemster, which I can highly recommend if you live in the Netherlands!
Early mornings; early morning exercises are my favorites! Not only for the energy it gives throughout the day, but also because of the peace and calmness on the streets before everyone awakens. That's is also Saucha! When I start my day like that, that feeling of peace and calmness in combination with energy extends throughout the rest of my day.
Dancing; can’t live without the energy release of a good party! It takes off the load, cleans up and fuels with new energy - sort off, worth the hangover ;).
Cacao; drinking raw cacao is a beautiful tool for grounding and self-love. You can create a moment for yourself at home before or during a meditation, or you can do it within a ceremony. In the ceremony this often also goes together with meditation and is 100% safe and legal. If you've never tried drinking cacao, I recommend doing it in a ceremony first, so you can really experience what it has to offer. Can again recommend Maaike van Ees for this one!
Natural Skincare; last but not least... a big part of why I started this business some time ago, was in order to create awareness of the harmful toxins in most commercial skincare products and cosmetics. It’s a dream come true to spread some Saucha through our own skincare.
I hope it gave a good overview of how Saucha can be applied into your life, and above all; how to create your own balance towards your own happy, pure life.