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Saucha: Next to Godliness

February was a whirlwind.  The first half felt like nonstop teaching, and the second half felt like nonstop struggling to teach nonstop while losing my voice and being on call for my first doula client.  Now that my voice is back, a beautiful baby girl was born last week (in one of the most unbelievably awe-inspiring moments I've ever experienced!)  and I'm more grounded, I feel like I'm coming up for air, and I'm overjoyed to find that it's finally March...despite the layer of snow and ice currently dropping on the ground.

Despite the snow, when I hear "March," my brain says, "SPRING!"  Now that I've had a day off where I've felt up to doing more than laying on the couch binge-watching The Mindy Project and recouping my energy, I've been indulging in one of my favorite nerdy housewife-y things - Spring Cleaning.  It made me smile, knowing this was my plan for today, to get the March newsletter for my wonderful neighborhood yoga studio, The Giving Tree, and see that their theme for the month is, "Fresh Start."  It's exactly what it feels like - and it's usually how I feel at the start of every March.  (And September.  And January.  And a little bit June)

I always feel happier in a cleaner home, and man alive did this place need it.  Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project, which I mention a lot on here, identified cleaning/purging as the first thing she needed to do to start her project.  In her chapter on it, she found it interesting that there's very little research on link to happiness/stress levels and clutter!  She does a tremendous amount of research in her book about all manner of things, so it was fascinating - considering our pop culture's obsession with things like Hoarders - that there isn't much "official" information about that.

Yogically speaking, the first niyama, or observance, is saucha - purity or cleanliness.  Literally, clean body, spirit.  Energetically speaking, a place for everything and everything in its place.  Everyday - brushing our teeth, showering, even making the bed.  Some yogis go further with practices like neti potting, oil pulling, and use of particular oils on the skin.

There are all kinds of deep thoughts and analyses I could throw into this entry about saucha - the interesting quotes from Patanjali's Yoga Sutras (where yamas/niyamas are first mentioned and discussed) that imply our body can never be clean and is in fact something to be considered "disgusting."  I could talk about parallels to certain religions and other implications of purity, and impurity...but that's for another day.

For me, today - it's much more on the simpler (and yes, metaphorical) side.  Deep cleaning the oven, clearing off the (embarrassing amount of) dust off of my counters and bookshelves, cleaning the bathroom - unbelievably simple stuff that just gets thrown to the wayside when things get busy.  It's unbelievable how grounding and inspiring dealing with it can be.  I joke with my boss that I need one day off a week to "do my laundry," but it really is the truth!  To be a good "housewife" it takes at least a whole damn day...and there always seems to be more that you can do.  Adding to that facing and getting our finances in order, which is never fun at the time but always feels (somewhat) good to be done with - icing on the incredibly nerdy, boring, grown-up cake.

The mundanity of these accomplishments, though, don't seem to lessen the quiet joy they bring me.  We may still be in the "lion" phase of March, but my love of spring cleaning is warming my spirit up already.  Who knows - with this solid foundation, I might be able to blog about more yoga-y elements of yoga soon.

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