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Saucha & Tapas in Self-Care by Julie Parvati Hillman

By Santosha Yoga

MON DEC 27, 2021

As we move into the Niyamas (Disciplines), we will address Saucha (cleanliness) and Tapas (heat). Cleanliness is pretty straightforward. We bathe to keep our body clean, we launder our clothing and vacuum and dust our home to keep our living space tidy. If you hosted family or friends at your home, you may have done extra deep-cleaning of your living spaces. We usually go about cleaning on auto-pilot; going through the motions just to get the chore done. In the spiritual sense, Saucha is done mindfully with deliberation and intent. For example, as we clean our dining room in preparation for a holiday gathering, we can envision all our family and friends who will be in attendance. As we do this, we acknowledge how this clean space will be inviting, comforting to our loved ones. As we fold our children’s laundry, we can envision how good they will look and feel in their freshly washed clothes.

Tapas is considered the spiritual heat of dedication to our practices. In everyday life, it is the heat of passion in anything we dedicate ourselves to. You see this in the artist when you engage about their craft. You see this in the person who is beyond dedicated to their work. When you ask them about this they light up and glow (heat, fire) with passion. It becomes a roaring fire within them that cannot be tamed.

How can Saucha and Tapas, together, relate to self-care? It’s all in our approach. Choose one cleaning chore that you will approach with dedication and reverence. For me, it is going to be laundry. I am already quite precise in my folding, but I can take it another step. I can envision the joy my husband will receive when he takes a perfectly folded t-shirt from his dresser, or how the clean scent of the bedsheets will lull him to sleep at night. I can use these images to fuel my passion for folding laundry so that laundry is no longer a chore, but becomes an expression of love.

What cleaning tasks are you going to take on with passion? What will inspire you to achieve cleanliness out of deep dedication?

Want to discover more of Parvati’s insights on Saucha and Tapas? Get your copy of Becoming Parvati here.