Clean living (‘Saucha’ in Sanskrit) is part of a yoga lifestyle. The path of yoga is actually a process of ‘cleaning up’ our lives – body, breath, mind, heart and relationships – so we can experience peace, harmony and freedom. It is REALLY hard to find peace when your life and relationships are a mess.
If you want it, you gotta roll up your sleeves and do some work to CREATE it. When you clean, reorganize and let go of things that stand in the way of harmonious living, you clear a path that leads in the right direction.
There are so many ways to engage in saucha as a practice. You don't have to do them all. But, as you read on, notice which suggestions make you feel inspired. That's the perfect place for you to begin.
FOR YOUR BODY
Adopt a Daily Movement Practice
Movement stimulates circulation and delivers oxygen to every cell in your body so it can work optimally and thrive. Regular movement allows your cells to ‘breathe’, keeps your tissues hydrated, improves your immune system function, lubricates your joints and helps to keep your body healthy and strong. Good movement ‘hygiene’ is critical to your health and well-being. Commit to moving every day in the same way that you commit to brushing your teeth. Your health depends on it!
Eating ‘clean’ means eating foods that nourish and contribute to good health and avoiding foods that don’t. When you can, opt for fresh foods, rather than processed. It’ll do your body and your health a world of good.
Skin and Bodycare
Pay attention to the kinds of products you use on your body. A lot of cosmetics are toxic. You can avoid many of the harmful ingredients in personal care products by making a trip to your local health food store or natural beauty shop to find soaps, moisturizers, makeup, and hair products created specifically with your health and well-being in mind. This minimizes harm to both you and the environment (another key tenet of yoga is not causing harm).
FOR YOUR MIND
A wonderfully refreshing breathing practice that calms, clears and cools your mind.
ADDED BONUS: the cooling effect of Sitali also makes you feel minty fresh on the inside.
-it boosts your ability to think clearly
-reduces your risk of anxiety and depression.
-helps you to work more productively
-improves your mood and sleep (which improves memory and thinking).
If you’ve got a mental block and need to clear your head, a simple remedy is to just get up and move.
FOR YOUR HEART
The famous activist/designer William Morris said “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” Apply the same rule to your relationships. Welcome and nurture relationships that are beautiful and beneficial. If you’ve got relationships that are past their ‘best before’ date, clean them out. Put up healthy boundaries.
FOR YOUR COMMUNITY
We can’t just ‘om’ life’s problems away. Yoga doesn’t work like that. Racism, social injustice, pollution and climate change: these issues require our attention and our action if they’re going to get better. And yoga IS A PATH OF ACTION. You are meant to take yoga philosophy to heart - and bring it to life. Actively cleaning up our communities is a form of embodying ‘cleanliness’ and ‘harm prevention’ (another key tenet of yoga). As yoga practitioners, we are required to roll up our sleeves and use our own two hands to create a peaceful living environment – not just for ourselves, but for everyone.
By all means, recharge on your mat and create peace in your own body and mind – but don’t let your practice begin and end there. Spread peace.
FOR YOUR ENVIRONMENT
Marie Kondo the heck out of your life! An clean & organized living/working environment improves focus and mental clarity. It allows you to be more positive and productive. And it generally makes everyday functioning go more smoothly. When you don’t attend to your TO DO list, when loose papers take over your home and disorganization rules, you compromise your ability to focus on what is important. The dishes in the sink, the unpaid phone bill, the report you should have submitted yesterday, etc. It all gets in the way of getting to work on the things you really value. Don’t let that pile up!
Clean your home or your workspace. When you’re finished, notice how you feel. (and in the midst of your cleaning frenzy, consider using natural products that don’t contain chemical ingredients that will harm you or the planet).
A yoga practice extends beyond the edges of your mat. It is a lifelong journey that helps bring balance to every area of life. When you pay attention to cleanliness, and actively participate in cleaning up your little corner of the world: your body, your breath, your mind, your heart, your community, your environment - you improve the quality of life for yourself and for others.