As we close out the spring season, it’s not too late to declutter and cleanse not just our homes, but also our bodies and minds. In the yogic tradition, there are several practices that support the purification and rejuvenation of the body and mind.

One of the most effective ways to cleanse the body is through yoga asanas or postures. Certain postures can stimulate the internal organs, aiding in the detoxification and elimination of toxins. Let’s be honest, cleaning up the physical clutter in our lives is already a daunting task. But what if we told you that you can start your day right without even getting out of bed? Yep, we’re talking about more yoga in bed! Reclining Side Stretch, for example, can help mobilize our spine and feel into the extra space created when we are at our tallest in the morning.

Yoga in bed: Reclining Side Stretch

  • Lie on your back with your arms stretched overhead and your legs straight.
  • Inhale and reach your arms up towards the ceiling.
  • Exhale and grab your right wrist with your left hand.
  • Cross your right ankle over your left ankle.
  • On an exhale, gently lean to the left side, feeling the stretch along the right side of your body.
  • Take 10-15 deep breaths, then switch sides.

Breathing practices or pranayama can also aid in cleansing the body and mind. Kapalabhati or “skull shining breath” is a powerful breathing technique that helps clear out the nasal passages and sinuses, aiding in the removal of toxins from the body. And let’s not forget about the importance of good posture! Seated Cat-Cow is a slow and energizing movement that can help set an intention for our day ahead.

Breathing practice: Kapalabhati (Skull Shining Breath)

  • Sit in a comfortable position with your back straight and your hands resting on your knees.
  • Inhale deeply through your nose.
  • Exhale forcefully through your nose, pulling your belly button in towards your spine.
  • Let your inhales happen passively, as the exhales become quick and powerful.
  • Do 20-30 rounds of Kapalabhati, then take a few deep breaths before resuming normal breathing.

In addition to physical practices, meditation is a powerful tool for mental cleansing, helping to clear the mind of negative thoughts and emotions. Practicing mindfulness meditation promotes awareness, allowing us to acknowledge our emotions and release them. Chanting mantras, such as Om or So Hum, can also help purify the mind and bring a sense of calm and clarity.

Mindfulness meditation: Breath awareness

  • Sit in a comfortable position with your back straight and your hands resting in your lap.
  • Close your eyes and bring your awareness to your breath.
  • Notice the sensation of the breath moving in and out of your body.
  • Whenever your mind starts to wander, gently bring your focus back to your breath.
  • Practice for 5-10 minutes or longer, as desired.

Chanting mantra: Om or So Hum

    • Sit in a comfortable position with your back straight and your hands resting on your knees.
    • Take a few deep breaths to settle into your body.
    • Start chanting the mantra “Om” or “So Hum” (which means “I am that”).
    • Repeat the mantra for several minutes, allowing the vibration of the sound to soothe and purify your mind.
    • When you’re ready to finish, take a few deep breaths and sit in silence for a few moments, noticing the effects of the practice.

    Spring cleaning is not just about decluttering our physical space; it’s about creating space for growth and renewal. With the practices of yoga, we can support the body and mind’s natural cleansing process, allowing us to feel refreshed and renewed.

    So, whether it’s through physical practices like yoga asanas, breathing techniques like Kapalabhati, or mental practices like meditation and mantra chanting, let’s take this opportunity to cleanse our body and mind, and create space for new growth and positive energy in our lives.

    As we near the summer months ahead, let us embrace the opportunity to renew and refresh ourselves, and set intentions for the growth and abundance that the season brings. Happy spring cleaning!