Saucha – Physical and Mental Hygiene for our Children and Family
Saucha resonates purity and cleanliness in many levels. In fact, it radiates purity and cleanliness in EVERY level and perspective – internal, external, physical, mental, and emotional, while encouraging respect for the self as well as for others, and not forgetting, for the nature.
The primary practice of Saucha for children (and for any individual) would be our personal hygiene both in and out of the bathroom. It begins daily when we visit the bathroom moments upon waking up in the morning – to wash our face, brush our teeth, scrap our tongue, clear our bowels, and take a refreshing shower. Then the practice continues out of the bathroom, where the bedroom, dirty laundries, dining table and utensils are cleaned after meals. And it continues well out of the house – keeping the neighbourhood clean, maintaining cleanliness in public transports and at public places, and keeping the classroom and school ground tidy.
Although all which were mentioned so far are displays of external cleanliness, another important aspect of Saucha lies in mental hygiene – cleanliness and purity of the mind. As actions spring from the mind’s intent, it is essential to instil ‘pure and clean’ thoughts in our children’s lives, and cultivate this positive and admirable characteristic from within. From this, their whole being, including their actions, vibrates with genuineness and sincerity.
Children, in every region and culture, emit the same pureness. Fundamentally, they see the world with neither prejudices nor biases. Anything and everything that surrounds them appear to them as their teachers and provides them the opportunities to learn. In time, they develop their attitudes from friends whom they socialise with, books they read, movies they watch, and information which they garner from the internet, and more importantly, from their own ability to discern all these information. The people and other learning resources that surround them could greatly influence their perspective. Mostly, if they demonstrate a bias, it stems from an influence of one or a combination of ‘teachers’ mentioned.
As their parents and mentors, adults naturally play an integral role in cultivating and nurturing the essence of mental Saucha in children. Yet, of course, we should lead by example by embracing this commendable quality through practice. Since we are all familiar with personal (physical) and environmental hygiene, let’s see how we as adults can instil and demonstrate mental hygiene.
De-clutter our minds…
Clearing the clutter in our minds may take some practice. So, we can give it a head start by not putting in extra clutter. Abstain from activities and thoughts which are not beneficial or those which can be detrimental to both the body and mind. Instead of gathering to gossip or talk about unproductive subjects, utilise the gathering to discuss about subjects which are positive and those which are beneficial to the self and to the community.
What’s in our minds is what we allow to enter through our senses. We can explain to our children that they may not have control over what comes into their field of senses, but they have the power to make a conscious decision to turn away rather than continue engaging. This applies in both the ‘real’ world AND the cyber world. Be socially responsible when interacting in both worlds – be vigilant when receiving information, and be thoughtful when expressing and sharing opinions and comments.
…and fill it with positivism.
Help our children choose activities which are educational for the body and mind. Surround ourselves and our children with people by joining hands to create a positive environment and community. Wait not for others to make the move – be the one to initiate the movement. Start by creating a harmonious home environment. Have good thoughts about our children and all family members, and maintain these good thoughts even when we are going about with our errands, be it grocery shopping, picking up our children from school, cleaning the house, or preparing meals.
Use positive words when conversing with our children and everyone else – words which build and uplift ourselves and others. Cultivate and nurture qualities which are calming yet rejuvenating for the body and mind – qualities such as kindness, thoughtfulness, truthfulness, gratitude, and so on. Let our children see life as a playground of positive learnings!
Our austerity towards the practice of Saucha can uplift our lives as it improves our personality, giving us a positive self-awareness. When we have pure and clean intentions, our whole being will naturally emit a positive vibration.
Here’s a Saucha Project for the family:
- Work on three areas around the house and neighbourhood which need cleaning.
- Start a Saucha Journal and put in three wonderful thoughts every morning and practice it throughout the day.
- Say at least one wonderful comment to every person you meet!
This article was featured in YogaMail Jan-March 2015 issue.