The Niyama I most often teach in my classes is Saucha. This usually makes my students giggle a little when it comes up. Saucha is the practice of cleanliness and purity, and to practice saucha, I encourage my students to help me put all the props back neatly. In fact, I’m a little bit obsessed with saucha. I like to show up early to my class and make sure everything is neat and clean, and that we have plenty of hand towels and rags. As students come in, I guide them to set up their mats in neat rows, with their props and personal items out of the way.
Why bother with all these details? Everything is just going to get messy and probably also sweat upon over the next hour or so.
Call me crazy, but it totally puts me at ease, and hopefully it puts my students at ease, too. It sends a signal that I care about the space. I’ve taken time to make it special and different from the outside world. It’s safe-- sacred even.
After the practice, it’s a simple and effective way to practice mindfulness by paying attention to details and making a little personal investment into the community by treating the space with care.