Saucha (or sometimes, sauca) is one of the Niyamas in the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali. It is often translated as purification or cleanliness. In the sutras, we learn that both the body and mind need to be made clean and ready for the practice of yoga.
Off the mat, there are also a number of benefits to cultivating saucha, in the sense of self care. People often put themselves last when they are busy when the opposite approach would likely serve them better. If you take good care of yourself, that’s when you will have enough physical, mental and emotional reserves to also be able to manage your responsibilities. Receiving bodywork, either on an as-needed basis or on a regular schedule, is an important way to take care of your body.
Here are some thoughts by Rolf Gates about sauca, from his wonderful book Meditations from the Mat.
The people I admired seemed to be treating their bodies well … I had a sense that these habits were an extension of the love these individuals felt toward themselves and others … Our body is the home of our spirit. It is the means by which we enact our beliefs. Therefore, the maintenance of the body is a spiritual duty, an act of love not only toward ourselves but toward all humanity.