Saucha: The Great Spring Cleaning!


Being a yogi, who’s down on the ground a lot, I’m particularly obsessed with clean floors. I’ll admit it, I’m somewhat of a clean freak.  I love to be able to eat off of any surface.

Cleaning gives me immediate satisfaction. When I vacuum up tiny crumbs, dog hair and little bits of I-don’t-know-what, I feel an inner sense of relaxation. I have this sweet satisfaction that some little part of life is in order, under control.

I can relax.

At least for a while.

Yoga gives us a built in cleansing practice called Saucha.  It is the first Niyama (the second of eight limbs of yoga). It means to purify and cleanse. Generally, the practice of Saucha invites us to examine what we take into our bodies – food and drink – but also what kind of energy we allow into our energetic fields, and how we may be “polluting” our inner landscape by creating inner clutter.   

Each Spring I ask myself what I want to clean up internally as well as externally, and this year my big task is to take on an old habit of mine called AVOIDANCE. I have the nasty habit of avoiding conflict, avoiding making “the phone call” to someone I may have to say ‘no’ to, and avoiding the uncomfortable feelings within. But the burden of Avoidance is high.

It starts to feel like I have a pile of tasks, conflicts or people I’m avoiding and I then hear the nagging voice in my head that says, “You’re gonna have to make the call. Or you’re gonna have to face that conflict, or crunch the numbers."

This year I say, “No more avoiding.” It’s time to face whatever I’m avoiding head on. What I find fascinating is that alongside the inner clean-out, I notice there is always the accompanying outer clean-out.

When I take on my inner work of cleaning out I usually find I also get a bug to steam clean my rugs, wash out all of the drawers, or do a deep clean of my closets.

In the past couple of years, this cleaning practice has lead me to change the products I use to clean my house. I’ve gotten rid of pretty much all of the store-bought products and replaced them with three simple household products that work really well for cleaning.

What are they?

Baking soda (bought in a large back at Costco)
Distilled White Vinegar (also bought at Costco)
Dr. Bronners Castile Soap

These three are the foundation of all of my cleaning products now. At first, I was skeptical that these products would actually do a good job. To my surprise, they work great. I just cleared out an oil clogged shower drain with white vinegar (with a quite a bit of help from a friend!)

But why do this, you might be wondering, when the other products work just fine?

As I’ve traipsed down the yogic path for the past 20 years, I’ve become more and more sensitive to chemicals, smells, and their energetic impact. I love knowing that the products I use  to clean my house are safe to ingest,  and I feel happy that the products I use are all environmentally safe and made with love.

When I spray down my kitchen counters now, with my homemade All Purpose Surface Cleaner, I have a smile on my face and I just feel happy.

So, if you’re interested in this part of the journey, I’ve got a few home cleaning products listed below, and some ideas on how to use these three household products to clean your home.

Happy and Clean Spring to you all!


All Purpose Surface Cleaner 

2 oz distilled water
6 oz distilled white vinegar
Spray bottle: glass 8 oz
8 drops lavender essential oil
5 drops lemon essential oil

What to do
Using a funnel, pour water and vinegar into a glass spray bottle.
Remove the funnel and add the essential oils. Put spray nozzle onto the bottle.
Shake well to combine, and use on any surface. Works great on stove and kitchen counter tops.

Wood Cleaner

2 cups distilled water
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
spray bottle: glass 16. oz
10 drops lemon essential oil
8 drops cedarwood essential oil

What to do
Using a funnel, pour water, white vinegar and olive oil into a spray bottle.
Add in the essential oils and shake to mix.
Shake before using to mix the ingredients. 

Cleaning is my Xanax

I am five days from pulling the great green van away from the house and heading to massive nature to meet the adventure.

In the meantime I’ve been cleaning. And I mean DEEP CLEANING! The kitchen cupboards, the pantry, the refrigerator. Oh, I know I should be preparing for the trip, checking the engine, the electrical connections, filling the water tank for the sink.

But no. I’m cleaning.

It is my Xanax. It calms me in the face of trembling fear.

So, last night I pulled out the big guns – the toothbrush and hot soapy water and got to work on the grit and grease underneath the front chair of Van Go like a dental hygienist scrapes plaque from teeth. As the water turned deep brown with every wipe of the microfiber rag, I felt serotonin flood my system and relaxation set in.

Because, the truth is, this trip is working me over, and I haven’t even gotten to the START line, which is Monday, July 11th.

Flurries of questions crowd my brain at regular moments throughout every day, going something like this:

“Why am I going on this trip? I mean, isn’t it silly? What are you trying to prove, Diane? Are you trying to prove something? Because you know, you don’t have to. You could just stay home and have a pleasant easy summer. On the other hand, once you’re on the road it will ALL be fine, and you will love the parks. You will meet awesome people, see amazing sites, have time to be. Remember, even though you feel alone in this, you aren’t alone. Ever.”

The other channel in my brain wakes me up in the morning with a barrage of things to “remember”:

“Find the bunji cords, get the sticky Velcro, make sure you get the shade issue handled before you go. Should I keep the mechanic appointment? Don’t forget to buy a new cooler. Oh, you have to sew the curtains. Food, think nuts, veggies, ghee, that will go in the cooler.”

It’s endless.

As I clean the van, bringing out the shine of the original yellow paint underneath the front seat, I wonder about rain and cold, and what I’ll do in the middle of the night when I have to pee with “weather” out there. I wonder about the bears and bear spray, and how it works.

When I pause in the midst of all of the logistical preparations, and the burst of doubts, and take a deep breath and remember why I’m going, I feel the flood of excitement. I can’t wait to stand in the great Cathedrals of our country – the National parks – and have my jaw gape open in awe at the beauty created by nature over millions of years, with no help from any human.

When I remember this I am certain I go to have space and time to sit with my bigger questions in life, like “Who am I? What IS this life really about? Why do we suffer? What brings deep joy? What is love? Really? Why do we get caught in fear like a mouse snapped up in a trap? Where does fear come from? And why is it as powerful as a tidal wave knocking down sand castles?”

Once I’m sitting behind the big steering wheel in the van, I will be in the river and I will swim with myself as the only one who can save me with my tools - my breath, my yoga mat, my altar, a good sense of humor, a good book and some art supplies. I am ready to put down the mantle of fear.

I am going to gather up trust and faith in my basket. I am going to embrace the mystery about how it will all work out, where I will go, what I will do, who I will be at the end of this journey. I go open to being a tumble weed on the road, ready to embrace the mystery where I will go, how it will all work out and who I will be at the end of this journey. I go to gather up trust and faith in my vessel.