Finally! The weather is finally getting warmer each day and the spring flowers are beginning to bloom. This is the time of year we all think about doing some type of spring cleaning. Spring is the time for a fresh start. As yogis, we may have heard our teachers talk about bramacharya (non-excess) as well as aparigraha (non-possessiveness). Keeping those two yamas in mind, we may want to clear out our homes, weed out our clothing, and even clean the interior and exterior of our cars. We may decide to do a week long spring cleanse in the form of eating foods that are very easy to digest and cleansing to our systems. We may decide to work on issues that we haven’t either had the time, energy, or courage to deal with.

Whatever form of spring cleaning you choose, there are huge benefits from doing this ritualistic exercise.  Cleaning our homes of clutter not only enhances the appearance of our home, it also frees our minds…. When there is a lot of clutter around us, it stops the flow of energy.  When we are trying to relax and there are old papers and junk mail strewn about, clothing here and there and other assorted items that need to be properly stored, it is very difficult to mentally let go of everything surrounding us.  Following are some ideas:

  • Go through your clothing and consider donating anything you haven’t worn in a year to a charitable organization.
  • Take a look at your children’s old toys.  Any gently used toys can be washed and donated.  Books are also good to cull.
  • On a warmer day, consider doing some vintage family activity such as washing and waxing your car together.
  • Another family activity to consider is clearing out the garage… there’s usually lots of stuff that collects there which can be disposed of.

A spring cleanse for our body gets rid of toxins that we ingest and helps us to feel healthier in that we breathe easier, think more clearly, sleep better, and enhance our sense of taste and smell.  A lot of the Yoga Teacher Training students and I recently completed a week long cleanse which consisted of eating a lot of kitchari (a tasty and nutritious combination of mung dal, similar to lentils, and rice along with a lot of detoxifying herbs and spices) and meditating daily. I have done this cleanse before, and I always feel FANTASTIC afterwards!  It’s worth considering if you have never done it.  Interested? I’d love to meet with you to talk about how to get started.

There are things we can incorporate in our lives that will have a tremendously positive impact on our environment:

  • Try to live our lives with as small a footprint as possible. – Recyle, reuse and refurbish as often as you can.  Even though the media doesn’t talk about our environment as much as it once did, we still have a problem.
  • Fill your own water bottles and don’t buy bottled water – Empty water bottles are a HUGE problem in our land fills, and you have no idea how long the water has been inside the plastic or how much plastic you are drinking.  If you use a single cup coffee maker, look into reusable or compostable pods.

Last but not least, in addition to clearing our bodies and surroundings, we can take a personal inventory of our minds and find some “junk” we can let go of. A longer similar list was recently published in The Hartford Courant, which one of the JOY students brought it in for me to see since I gravitate toward that topic this time of year.  (Thank you, Betsy!)

  • Let go of the need to always be right – Work on developing relationships by allowing someone else to be right.  Think about someone you know who always needs to be right… do you care more for them when they are always right?
  • Don’t try to impress and please everyone – Many of us desire to please others but sometimes its best to live with someone’s disapproval and live our own truth.
  • Try to manage “negative” emotions a little better – Even though they are hard to deal with, grief, fear, shame, embarrassment, and despair all play a role in our lives at one time or another.  It’s best to try to really allow ourselves to feel and process these emotions rather than stuffing them down with food, exercise or venting at our loved ones.

Essentially, spring is a great time to start fresh.  Let go of some old bad habits and incorporate some new healthy ones.  One little old step at a time.  Happy spring cleaning!!

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