Saucha Niyama - Cleanliness in Body, Mind, Heart, and Our Surroundings

There are 10 Yamas and 10 Niyamas - daily values and practices from ancient Vedic Sanskrit texts that help us reach our full potential for personal, spiritual, and professional growth, and to liberate us from mental, spiritual, and physical suffering.  

In this post, you will learn the importance of tidying up, how our physical and mental health depends on it, and the 5 simple steps you take every day that will not take you more than 5 minutes to implement more zen into your life. 

 

This month join us in aligning our moment-to-moment living with the value of Saucha, cleanliness. Saucha helps us keep things neat to support our mental and physical health. I love thinking of cleanliness in terms of the Universal Law of Correspondence: as within - so without. If our outer life seems calm and grounded, it is because we feel peace within. Have you ever experienced a sense of serenity being in a zen-designed home? I loved visiting Japan just for that reason. Or have you noticed how calm you feel when you check into a well-designed hotel room that has nothing extra laying around? Do you ever feel a sense of release, lightness, as if a heavy backpack is off your shoulders when your home is organized and deeply cleaned? Neat house is so relaxing, right? This yogic value gives us an opportunity to close the gap between how we practice inner-outer cleanliness, how we want to feel, and how we want our surroundings to look. When we live in clutter - our thoughts are anxious, our homes unorganized, our cars are messy, our oceans are filled with trash, our air is polluted - there is no wellbeing possible for anyone. What is hilarious is that during my writing this post my Macbook just kicked me out and restarted itself (I suspect because I had over 20 tasks opened, I am a work in progress 😝), reminding me 'hey, lady, I also need some zen and cleansing, hello!' You see? Even our technology needs Saucha! As without so within - it all matters.

Since I was 8, I remember that daily cleaning chores were just a normal part of house life. My dad used to throw things away if we didn't place them back where they belonged. 'You girls obviously don't care about that hairbrush/toy/you name it/ enough if you didn't neatly put it back' was his philosophy. As rough as it seemed back then, I wish I had that freeing sense of non-attachment today 😄. My grandma Nadzeya (Hope) with whom we spent all summers, a school teacher and a farmer used to say: 'The neatest places only exist because nobody messes them up.' Growing up & visiting my friends, my parent's friends, I still have vivid memories of homes that smelled and looked out of order, which usually related to an alcoholic parent. What I learned early on, mental-spiritual-physical dis-ease would be the reason for an unkept home. The truth about cleanliness is that the outer clutter usually represents the 'inner' disturbances, and vice versa - our physical & spiritual wellbeing cannot be optimal while living in a messy mess. Our nervous system, our operating system which controls our hormones, our organs, and our brain feels at ease when we are in an organized environment. Today I never take cleanliness for granted: I know it fosters health, and the opposite is also true.

One Harward study showed that clutter had a “strong negative impact on feelings of security, safety and other positive emotional benefits derived from a sense of psychological home,” a term that refers to the concept of “home” as a “vital source of meaning, belonging, and identity. And the opposite is true. Often, the psychological extremes of OCD are actually rooted in a dysregulated nervous system where the person feels chronically unsafe, in fight & flight. Once that's healed, the cleanliness obsession also goes away. Harmony inside and out is key to health. 

When we fill up on food, TV, or belongings, we clutter and compromise the health of our bodies, minds, and our environment. By implementing Saucha Niyama into our daily life we can change how we make our buying decisions, and how we eat and consume entertainment. How does my body cleanse itself? How can I help it detox? To learn, you can listen to my Gut Health Podcast Episode 11, or read about Gut Health here. We can start by thinking about what happens to this item once I am done with it: is it going to fill up my trash bin? End up in the Ocean?  How much trash do I generate a week as a household? The trash bin size of my body? How is that acceptable? Are you buying pre-made food and your trash is mostly filled with food boxes? Can you learn to cook and eat in a way where you have ZERO food packaging waste? Let's work on that, together as a community!

One zen master wisely said: When you have a free minute - spend it sweeping your street. I could not agree more. Instead of 'filling ourselves up' on TV, or substance of de jour, our health would benefit much better from the opposite, disconnecting from mass media, decluttering, and cleaning our homes. Wouldn't we all benefit from extra time spent on beautifying our surroundings? Maintaining our buildings, and infrastructure? Planting trees on sidewalks? Healthy-fying our bodies, homes, and surroundings. In ancient thriving cultures, esthetics were always a sign of healthy living. 

I have a friend Liza Evans, who is a talented Feng-Shui-based interior designer, and a contractor-developer. She came to my house a few years ago and helped me rethink my interior design, which made me feel 100% more relaxed inside my nest, and I believe led me towards finding a partner too. She was like 'why do you only have one bedside table and all these pictures of seemingly-single Audry Hepburn? Are you telling the universe that you don't want a partner?' Liza is incredible, and you can work with her, she works internationally too. Here is her contact info 

Now, the moment of truth: how does your home, or your car look at this moment? Look around - can I stop by in 5 minutes by your home? Are you ok to give me a ride in your car? 😉  Do you believe that you can have a super messy desk, but a very organized business, career, health, relationships, or finances? Remember, as without - so within. How we do one thing  - we do everything. It is key to spirituality and self-awareness. I think of Saucha as zen, beauty, and peace. I want my body to feel at peace, I want my home to be zen so I can feel more clarity, be more effective, and stress less throughout the day. I also like to live in a way that my home and my workplace are always ready for a spontaneous visit. I grew up with people just dropping in by my house with no warning! Do you enjoy how we all, as a community keep the Glow Yoga space neat for all? You know this is continuous spiritual teamwork, and how would my grandmother say: you and every member contributes to Saucha by cleaning up after yourself, and so very kindly not adding any mess, thank you, thank you, thank you. 💞

 

Five 5-Minute Daily Steps to Embody Zen at Any Age:

1. I start my day by cleansing my body, emptying my dishwasher, tidying up my bedroom, and planning what to cook to keep my body clean & healthy. 

2. Every day I clear my mind from screens and data: I take a yoga class, or a walk outside to enjoy the surrounding beauty. 

3. Every day I take a mindful break to dust or clear all surfaces - keeping my shelves, furniture, and countertops zen. When I use any kitchen or housekeeping tools - I clean & put them away right after use. 

4. I end my day by organizing my workplace and my kitchen, starting up the dishwasher, and cleaning my body.

5. Before falling asleep, I practice Forgiveness and Letting go, clearing my heart, keeping my spirit light with this simple prayer: 'I forgive myself and everyone with ease. I trust that everyone is trying their best with the level of consciousness they have, and I will do even better tomorrow. I let go of all control so I can rest, and I trust the spirit to take the best care of me & everyone else for the greatest good of all.' 

In addition to the 5 daily steps above, here are the Saucha Habits I've implemented last 10 years:

1. I've replaced all paper napkins with cotton towels to reduce the compost too. I know that you've noticed that change at Glow, and I hope you've been enjoying our new practically waste-free bathrooms. We now produce 80% less trash at Glow - thank you all, it's been so great 😇

2. I absolutely NEVER buy water or any beverages in plastic bottles and I try to minimize food waste & food packaging waste by cooking, and by ordering whole foods from Farmstead and shopping weekly at farmers' markets. Farmstead delivers products in any chosen 2h window, in a box that they pick up next week. It's so good! I used to use Imperfect Produce, but their boxes & bags still ended up in the recycling as they do not schedule convenient pick-ups. Here, if you'd like to try easy whole food shopping with free delivery (over $35 orders) you can use my Farmstead $80 off 2 orders Discount Code.

3. I make dark green detox juice every week, and enjoy the cleansing qualities that it provides. It's so refreshing 👌

The recipe for my weekly juice (made possible with recurring delivery via Farmstead Box): 1 bunch of celery, 1 bunch of kale, 3 limes, 3 lemons, 3 bunches of bok choi, 2 green apples, 1 ginger root. I use this slow-juicer and do double-juice-run. The first time on the Hard setting, and the second run, I re-juice all the spit-out pallets on the Soft setting, minimizing waste, and getting 100% of the juice & soluble fiber out. This whole juicing process takes me no more than 30 minutes, is easy to clean up, and it makes 2-3 16oz glass jars of juice, that lasts for 2-3 days. I add the juice into my water  - it's ultra-strong on its own. 

See the Slow Juicer I've been using now for 4 years weekly >

4. I replaced my plastic shampoos and body wash bottles with shampoo-conditioner bars and body-soap bars. My hair LOVES this shampoo-conditioner set. 

5. I keep all my drawers in Marie Kondo style - it's been really fun rolling up and color-coordinating my yoga pants 🥰

continue reading below....

Mind Mastery Channel: Breathwork, Meditation, Self-Study

Mind Mastery Channel: Breathwork, Meditation, Self-Study

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MAKING CHANGES WITH GROUP SUPPORT

 

Every 2 weeks join The Journal Time Katrina is leading to support the community on this self-awareness journey. Journaling is a part of yoga called svadhyaya, self-study, an incredible tool for processing our life experiences and for closing the gap between our values and our actions. Join us in person or via Zoom >

WHAT CLASSES DOES GLOW OFFER? 

 

Please take a look at our current in-person schedule of yoga, soundbaths, self-awareness and 360Barre classes > 

ENJOY OUR WEEKENDS WITH WELLNESS EXPERIENCES

 

Your life is now. Here. In stunning Bay Area. Make it more meaningful, enjoy it, and do something different. We are bringing a variety of holistic leaders and healers to educate, unwind, nurture our spirit and entertain our curiosity every weekend > 

5 SPIRITUAL RESOURCES I LOVE TO READ/LISTEN TO:

 

  1. Adyashanti recordings - he has many recorded sanghas I buy to listen to on my walks >

  2. The Unthererted Soul by Michael Singer (constantly, on repeat  - it's a lifelong reminder) >

  3. The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo. I read it in print at night and in the mornings - life contemplations to start or finish a day with >

  4. The Spiritual Psychology teacher Michelle Chalfant's Adult Chair Podcast >

  5. Weekly recordings from the Spirit Rock The Heart Wisdom Podcast of Jack Kornfield >

Sending you zen, health, and cleanliness,

Natasha & Glowing Team