How to Cleanse Yourself in Body, Mind, and Spirit (and Clean Your Surroundings, Too!) to Fully Love Yourself
We have spent the last five blog posts learning about the yamas, or the guidelines for relating with the world. We are now diving into the niyamas, or the guidelines for creating and nurturing ourselves.
Sanskrit scholar Nicholai Bachman translates niyama as “internal control or restraint.” Through a series of disciplined practices, we distill any unnecessary actions that dampen our inner light and prevent us from honoring our true selves. This is the time to take care of ourselves on a deep and spiritual level.
The first niyama is Cleanliness, or Purity (Shaucha). This personal practice helps us maintain a clean body and clear heart-mind. We clear ourselves of toxins emotionally, mentally, and physically to better receive others. We practice good hygiene; we eat in a way that’s clean and organically energizing to purify the body; and we move in ways that keep the channels open. Notice the correlation between clearing your body and how it affects the clarity of your mind.
Chances are, once you eat more cleanly and detoxify your body, you will be more balanced in your emotions, and your thoughts will be kinder and more balanced as well. Deborah Adele teaches, “Cleansing strengthens the body and insulates the mind, preparing us for the awakening of energy within us. Cleansing prepares us for the greatness of our spirit.”[xvi]
Start by drinking more water, eating more vegetables (the greener and leafier, the better), and adding more walks to your daily routine. See what comes up. Consciously speak in kind ways. Give thanks often and notice the change in your heart. Sometimes you might “come clean” by admitting a fault and releasing a deeply held emotion. How can you peel back the layers of cleanliness to reveal a balanced and clear self?
The practice of cleanliness also relates to the places we inhabit. We work toward uncluttering our surroundings so we can focus our energies inward to an uncluttered heart. Notice how clutter and massive piles of objects weigh down your spirit. How would it feel to release that clutter and free up your inner space and surroundings? If you have room to move, breathe, and live fully in your surroundings, what could you accomplish in your daily life?
Sometimes a cluttered home mirrors a cluttered heart-mind.
Does this ring true for you? Describe how your sense of self is reflected in your home and surroundings. Start with the outer environment and notice how, when you organize and clean your spaces, it affects you inwardly. Or get real on what things you actually need. Even better, create a vision for how you want your surroundings to reflect you and your core values.
Of course, babies and children have “stuff.” Is there a way to manage your belongings so they don’t take over? Can you donate or sell toys your child has developmentally outgrown? Can you do the same with clothing and books? What about sippy cups and utensils your child no longer needs to use? All of these questions incorporate non-hoarding.
As you look at the amount of “stuff” in your home, question what you truly need. The more you release, the clearer you will find your energy moving in your home. I’m not merely talking about keeping a clean house but creating a home that reflects the purity you create in your body, mind, and spirit. The more you meet the actual needs of your child by releasing outdated objects and support him/her with tools appropriate for his/her stage of life, the more you can embrace what’s happening and continue forward with your child as you grow on this journey together.
The practice of cleanliness means we get real and present with what is actually happening in ourselves and around us. We receive those happenings with pure thoughts, words, and actions. The more we move through life as an act of mindfulness free from judgment, the more we release violence from our heart-mind and find purity within. This is what cleans our spirit and helps us shine forth honestly and authentically.
Comment below how you incorporate cleanliness as a rite of self-care in your daily life. You can opt-in for my email list here to receive your Get Clear + Feel Dynamic toolkit for practices that set you up for practices that invest in your wellness as you better manage your energy.