So you are physically distancing at home- as you should be! It can be easy to get into unhealthy stagnant habits staying home all day. Right now it is important to build up our healthy discipline muscles and do little things to lift up our spirits and stay healthy- physically, mentally, emotionally, energetically and spiritually.
The wellbeing hacks in the post are all cleansing related. Why is cleansing important right now? I am not talking about using sterilizer on your hands, and not touching your face, nor am I talking about using soap and washing your hands while singing happy birthday two times. I know you are already doing that. I am talking about what the ancient traditions have known and passed down through the teachings of yoga for centuries. The term in Sakskrit is “Kriya”.
Kriya translates to “completed action.” In order to complete an action- it requires a certain degree of discipline, and in order to have discipline we need a certain degree of motivation. Allow me to motivate you.
First, I will explain the two different uses of the word Kriya. ways. In Kundalini Yoga it is used to refer to specific practices using breath control techniques and exercises, that are practiced to achieve a specific outcome. In Hatha Yoga – Kriya refers to cleansing processes which are placed into six groups of purification practices. These purification practices all have to do with cleansing the body. I will cover those in another post, the point is that cleansing practices have been around for thousands of years as an integral part of a spiritual path and overall health and wellbeing. In every ancient society there are rituals around cleansing whether it be Mexican or First nation sweat lodges, Egyptian temple purification rituals, Turkish Baths, and of course the Indian yogic system is full of cleansing rituals as a part of the Hatha Yoga system. It is understood that physical cleansing is an important part of a Spiritual path. When we cleanse, remove, release, and purify ourselves of physical toxins we allow for clearer thoughts, and more space to raise our vibration- energetically and emotionally.
Think about it, when you are vacuuming you must clean out the vacuum bag regularly otherwise the vacuum seizes to work. You can have the electricity going and run the vacuum across the carpet all you want, but it’s not going to pick up the debris on your rug unless there is space for the debris to go inside the bag. Now think about a clogged shower drain that is full of hair (I know, I know, it’s not the nicest visual…but it probably has happened to you once or twice), the water begins to accumulate in the bottom of the shower and cannot move through the water pipes. And my last example- think about an old pillow that hasn’t been used for years, sitting in the cupboard. When you pull it out – it is full of dust that needs to be shaken out (vigorously I might add) to dispel all of those dead skin cells, dust mites, and dust. What do all of these examples have in common ? Cleansing is done by clearing away debris often through movement. Where there is movement there is flow. Stagnancy causes debris, bacteria, mold and toxins to accumulate. The key to wellbeing is to create flow through movement. Flow of blood, energy & lymph fluid can only be done when there is nothing blocking that flow. So it is key to first remove any obstructions to the flow- so you can flow into a healthy rejuvenation of your system.
1) Deep clean your skin by shedding away old dead skin layers. Old dead layers of skin accumulate on the surface of your skin, and since your body is wildly intelligent those layers do shed off, just like every other animal goes through a shedding phase- so do you. And all of those little dust particles floating around your house are full of your dead skin cells. The dead skin layers on your body prevent your new fresh rejuvenating skin layers from breathing by clogging your pores leading to blemishes, superficial scar tissues to hold strong, dark patches, and ingrown hairs. Plus just imagine the grime and sweat that gets accumulated in your skin cells over time. Deep cleansing your dead skin layers off, will bring fresh blood cells to the surface of your skin, it will assist the movement of lympathic fluids assisting your immune system to be strong and energetically and symbolically clear away the past energies that are stuck in your skin cells. You skin will be glowing, refreshed and plump with a little deep rubbing.
Here is what you can do:
Day 1. Use oil and rub down your skin before you shower. If you are a vata Ayurvedic dosha use untoasted sesame or almond oil. If you are a Pitta try coconut or sunflower. If you are a kapha use almond or olive. For best results- warm up the oil first. Rub it generously over your entire body. Massage yourself until your hearts content. Then take a long warm shower. Don’t use soap on the places you’ve put the oil. Just let the water run over your body penetrating the oil into your skin. This prepares the skin for the scrubbing step.
Day 2. The next day take a loofa or one of those hand mitt scrubbers you get from the Hammam. Take a very hot shower and after steaming in the shower, scrub strongly your skin. It can be uncomfortable because you have to go quite strong to get the skin layers off. You should start to see layers of skin peel off into balls. If you do not have one of those tools right now- make your own body scrub using salt or sugar.
2) Oil Pulling your Mouth. After brushing your teeth and flossing, take some coconut oil (a teaspoon) and swish it around it your mouth. Do it as long as you can while you are doing your morning routine. You can do it for as long as 15 mins (that’s a little extreme) but even 2 minutes will make a difference. This will help to support the good bacteria in your mouth and the oil acts as an emollient (like soap) so it will clear away unwanted build up- especially in hard to reach places. If you have any inflammation in your mouth- this is brilliant and easy way to treat the health of your mouth. It kills the bad bacteria without whisking away the good bacteria. It is best to do this regularly a couple times a week. If you have an inflammation in your mouth than do it everyday until you notice an improvement.
3) You’ve heard it before. Sugar is bad for you. But is it true? And what’s wrong with a little sweet stuff once and a while. NOTHING! Enjoy once and a while. But if you are reaching for sweet stuff day after day- it is accumulating in your system causing your body and your brain to get sticky. Here is a list of the effects of too much sugar can do:
Refined sugar is weighing your system down- effecting your body and mind in a vicious loop of addiction. Instead eat natural sugars- make a sweet easy to grab treat with dates, nuts and cacao- roll into balls and put it in the freezer. Eat fresh fruit, drink herbal teas, eat nuts and seeds. Make a frozen banana and peanut butter smoothy. Break free from you sugar cycle as it is not only going to make you feel bad physically but you need everything on your side to keep your mood up in our current situation of physical distancing, and easting sugar everyday is only going to do one thing – make you feel depressed and anxious.
Why? Well by now it is probably obvious..because movement creates flow. When you move, your heart begins to pump more rapidly moving your blood throughout your body to parts of your body that won’t get a great deal of blood flow if you are just sitting there on the couch. Your lymphatic system lacks a pump- it needs you to move (or massage yourself) in order to flush out toxins from your lymphatic fluids. Aside from this when you move you increase endorphins which will relieve pain and stress and help you sleep better.
So get moving would you!
What wellbeing tips are you doing to keep yourself flowing right now?