By: Courtnay Mecca, MS, CNS, LDN
As the clocks spring us forward this first weekend of March, we invite the light back into the day. Days are longer and we may start to feel more energetic as we emerge from a long dark winter of low tapas (directly translated as ‘fiery discipline’ or as defined by Swami Satchidananda- to burn out the impurities of the mind by accepting all of the pain that we tend to run from).
In many faiths, this time of year is also the time for a great spiritual awakening. While we may decide to give up something in order to connect to our spirituality, it can also be a good time to cleanse ourselves from things that waste our energy and pull us away from our path to Self. In yoga this is the practice of saucha (pronounced Show-cha) or purity and one of the niyamas (observences of the self) explained in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.
We can work on cleansing ourselves through many avenues that help to improve our health and better align us on our yogic path. One such way can be through nutrition and choosing foods that support our body’s detoxification pathways. For example, eating cruciferous vegetables, eating plenty of fiber, drinking plenty of water, and avoiding alcohol. Another way to support this cleanse can be choosing self-care products that are non-toxic to ourselves and the environment. Sweating and movement are other great ways to purify and we can certainly get that through our yoga practice by committing to rolling out our mats every day (not to mention the connection we have with each other in the Bamboo co’OM’unity). Adding in a kriya (purification practices) to our routines such as using a neti-pot or practicing Kapalabhati breath can further help in this cleansing process.
Mentally, we can cleanse ourselves by limiting or avoiding time spent on social media and watching television versus reading a book to help strengthen the mind and uncover our true nature. We can also do a mental cleanse by committing to a daily gratitude or meditation practice.
This little bit of extra time we have in our day now can be used to practice saucha. Ask yourself: what parts of your life do feel could use a spring cleaning? By letting go of what doesn’t serve us, we can find a clear connection to our spiritual self and perhaps lead us to something greater than ourselves; the divine.