Saucha: The Great Spring Cleaning!

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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!
 

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All Purpose Surface Cleaner 

Ingredients
funnel
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

Ingredients
funnel
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. 


Love Potions for a Sweet Valentine's Day

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It's here!

That week that makes some light up from the inside, and others cringe at the thought.

It’s the Hallmark Holiday week. Valentine’s Day!

Remember grade school? Where we cut out hearts and gave them to everyone in the class? Or those little boxes of chalky, wintergreen minty hearts with little ditties written on them? They said things like:

“You’re the best.”
“I love you.”
“You’re mine.”

Back in grade school we were taught to be egalitarian, to love everyone, and to make sure everyone was included. At least that was the goal.

But out here in the “real” world, life is messy. Some of us are single, others partnered, some getting un-partnered. We can’t really count on anyone to give us flowers and cards, chocolates and massages. I know I’ve certainly ended up feeling disappointed in life when I waited for that “other” person to do something for me.

So, I am advocating that we all take on becoming our own Valentine and treat ourselves impeccably. Here’s the recipe I have to share with you for a FABULOUSLY Relaxing Valentine’s Day….

Valentine’s Day Prep……(done before hand)

Start by making yourself some delicious, on-the-healthy-side chocolates. (All recipes below) Do that today or tomorrow so you’re ready with your chocolates! Then make some bath salts for yourself, so you can take a luxurious bath on Wednesday night. Make sure to get candles to light up your bathroom with a soft glow. Make a play list of songs for yourself to listen to while in the bath relaxing. Check what creams and toners you have and set them out for yourself. And/or make some. Don’t forget to get yourself a card and write out what you love about yourself and why you’re so awesome! Buy or pick some flowers and put in a vase.

On Valentine’s Day….

Give yourself your card in the morning with breakfast, so you remember how incredible you are and that you ARE loved. Treat yourself to something “out” on Valentine’s day - - a fun coffee, a delicious lunch, or dinner.

Once home, set up your spa time for yourself. Draw your bath with the bath salts, set out your candles and creams, get your playlist ready. When you have everything set up, slide in and soak, remembering how much you are loved (because you are loving yourself!). Once out of the bath, spritz yourself with your face with your favorite toner and follow up with a delicious face serum that smells divine.

Enjoy.

Here are some of my own recipes that I use regularly. This is a fun habit to get into and doesn’t have to be reserved just for Valentine’s Day!

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Chocolate Treats with Toasted Walnuts

Ingredients:
1 lb bar 72% dark chocolate (Trader Joes)
½ cup of coconut oil
½ teaspoon cardamom
1/3 cup maple syrup
¾ cup toasted walnuts chopped

Parchment paper
9X12” pan

What to do:

Melt chocolate and coconut oil in a pan on low heat. When melted, add in maple syrup and cardamom. (adjust to your taste). Line your pan with parchment paper while chocolate is melting.

While hot, pour the chocolate mixture onto the parchment paper and spread out evenly. Add crumbled nuts on top.

Put in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Break up into chunks of chocolate and eat or give as a gift! Best kept in the refrigerator.

 

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Bath Salts

Ingredients
2 cups Epsom Salts
½ cup Baking Soda
2 tablespoons Avocado or Olive Oil
10-15 drops of your favorite Essential Oil. (I like Lavender and Peppermint for this)

What to do
Mix all ingredients in a bowl thoroughly. Store in an airtight container. Use 4-5 Tablespoons in your bath. Enjoy.