Got a question for ya... What's in your space?
It's a question I often ask at the beginning of my yoga classes. And yeah, sometimes I get funny looks but usually there's a knowing nod or a sheepish grin -- something I believe is a recognition of the fact that we carry our world both on our shoulders and in our heads. And we do this often without even being aware of it.
So I'll throw it out to you. What's in YOUR space? And the better question: how much of it needs to be there?
What Are You Hoarding?
Ayurveda believes that all illness begins in the mind. So it only makes sense for us to really pay attention to what's going on in there. Start with noticing what you're holding on to, right now, in this moment...the thoughts, emotions, appointments, details, and that dang song “Happy” by Pharrell (go on, you know you want to sing it!).
There's a lot going on in there and what you're noticing is only the half of it. This is because we're all collectors of sorts. Some of us go in for tchotchkes, others grudges. Some folks can't pass a garage sale without reaching for their wallets, others have a sizeable collection of self-limiting beliefs. This is life. But what's important to realize is this...
Our capacity for living large can only expand if we keep up the process of physical, mental and emotional housekeeping (you know, take out the trash on a regular basis). Otherwise, all this stuff in our heads will weigh us down if we let it.
You Missed A Spot...
As a culture we have embraced the concept of detoxification. We've been schooled in the benefits and methods of keeping our colons sparkling. We've become masters of cleansing our bodies, while filling up our minds with more information and unresolved emotions than we can realistically process in any given day (or lifetime).
If we allow ourselves to take on the idea that the mind and body are one, it becomes clear that we stand to suffer just as many issues from having a head full of junk as we do from having a body full of junk.
So again, think about it...What's in YOUR Space?
Signs Of Mental/Emotional Toxic Build-Up:
- Being condescending or critical
Any of these sound familiar? Yeah, we're all storing a little mental-emotional junk in the trunk. Problem is... these days, solutions for truly holistic mind AND body cleansing are not as popular or prevalent as the ones that focus solely on the body. So what's a person to do?
A “Sense-able” Solution
If you’re looking for a simple way to cleanse the whole you, the senses are a great place to start. They are the bridge between the body, mind, and soul, and the front line of our experience of and with ourselves and the world.
Imagine everything you smell, touch, taste, hear, and see is food for the body-mind. Overindulging on sensory inputs is a form of gluttony that dulls the senses and taxes the body. If we ease the load on the senses, and create mindful awareness around our mental-emotional “bingeing” tendencies, we can create capacity within us for more of the good stuff.
So with that in mind here's an approach to regular cleansing that targets all of the senses and takes just a few minutes a day!
- Reduce The Sights - Cut back on computer, television and phone usage even just for a few minutes a day. Take regular breaks in your workday to “look away, look away!” Close your eyes or find some nature to look at.
- Clear The Sounds - Take of those head phones, turn off the radio in the car or at home. Take in the ambient sounds of your home or workplace for a few minutes or more a day.
- Simplify The Tastes - Try warm water with lemon in the morning (this is great for cleansing the palate and activating the digestion). Try simple, clean flavors. Forget about salt and sugar for a meal or a day, and allow the natural flavors of foods to come through. Take a moment to notice what they actually taste like.
- Strip Away The Touch - Try reducing the sensations of tight clothing or rough fabrics on the skin and body by wearing soft, loose clothing (or no clothing). Go for a swim without your suit or sit in a relaxing bath. Once you're done, you can revitalize the skin with a light layer of oil.
- Clarify The Smells - According to Ayurveda the nose is the pathway to the soul. Regular neti pot usage is great for keeping nasal passages clean and clear (and for preventing allergies, colds and flu). You can also try clarifying scents; lemon, orange, rosemary, and cedarwood essential oils are great scents for clarifying the body and mind.
It's important to set aside time in your day, every day to become aware of your senses, and to make a conscious choice to lighten up. For a regular “Detox Practice,” try 10 minutes of “cleansing the senses” every day or every week.
The key to making this practice powerful is to choose it rather than allow it to become yet another “task” to add to your to-do list. Even a few minutes of “sensory detox” on a regular basis can make a powerful difference to your experience of life and your ability to fully enjoy all the goodness that it has to offer.
So tell me... are YOU an information junkie or sensory input-a-holic? What's your biggest information vice? What do you do to get away from it all? Share your thoughts in the comments below!