An Ayurvedic Approach to Cleansing Your Home
If you are wondering where to begin, a good place to start is “cleansing” the home. Most of us spend a great deal of time at home, and it becomes our sanctuary full of our creature comforts. Over time, natural accumulation occurs, both physically and energetically, which can impact the feeling of the house and also affect your psyche.
For example, think about a used-book shop. Imagine that it’s filled with stacks of books on every shelf, including the windowsill, preventing light from entering. In the dim aisles, the smell of stale air and old books permeates your nostrils. Now, contrast that with a vision of walking into a room full of light, with the windows open and a few dearly loved books on a clean shelf. As you take a deep breath, fresh air fills your lungs and invigorates you. Most likely, each scenario elicited a different internal response, demonstrating how much you are influenced by your surroundings.
What does it mean to cleanse a home? Thoughts of burning sage may come to mind, and while this can be used, cleansing really can be anything you want as long as it has meaning for you. It can be the purging of tons of stuff or a much-needed deep cleaning—or it can take on a more spiritual aspect. Whatever you decide, the important thing is the inclusion of purposeful action. Intention behind any action encourages meaningful changes both internally and externally. You might be surprised by what ends up surfacing. By cleansing your home, you may clear the way toward gaining clarity in other areas of your life that need attention.
Here are some ideas to help cleanse your home with purpose, awareness, and intention.
Create the Vision
It’s helpful to know where you are going so you know when you have achieved the results you desire. Rather than diving right in, start by envisioning what your endgame is and what action needs to take place in order to get there. If you are seeking deeper meaning, this can include journaling a vision of what you want more of in your life (i.e., creativity, lightness, freedom). Here are more questions to jumpstart your thinking:
- How do you want to feel? This can be in general or specifically in your home. Examples are joyful, energized, productive, relaxed, less stressed.
- What do you need to let go of to make this happen?
- What do you need more of to make this happen?
- Do you need to ask for help to achieve this?
After you have created your vision, be sure to refer to it periodically to remind yourself of where you are going with this. You may find this vision changes as you work through the process, and that’s ok—it’s important to be flexible.
Ayurveda for Inspiration
In Ayurveda, the ancient mind-body health system of India, sensory impressions are considered crucial to health and well-being. Just as the food you take in affects the functioning of your bodily system, your sensory impressions determine the quality of your thoughts and emotions. This is something to consider when taking inventory of what type of space you want to create for yourself in your home.
Choose images that uplift the spirit and reaffirm what it is you are cultivating more of in your life. Use smells or aromas that are energizing, grounding, or calming. What kind of sounds come to mind when imagining a home that supports your vision? If you are not sure what to choose, determining your dosha, or mind-body constitution, can be helpful. There are three doshas comprised of different combinations of the five elements (space, air, fire, water, and earth) and they offer insight into your unique nature.
- Vata: space and air
- Pitta: fire and water
- Kapha: earth and water
If you find that you are predominantly Pitta, you would consider avoiding bright colors that may ignite the fire already within you and instead focus on cooling colors and images. On the other hand, a Kapha person would benefit from bright colors to energize and motivate. Those of the Vata nature already have lots of “airiness” about them and often need more grounding images to help keep them focused. Here are more examples of how to use the doshas when choosing the sensory experiences you would like to create in your home.
- Vata: soft, mellow music; singing bowls; chanting
- Pitta: sound of water, relaxing, classical music
- Kapha: drumming, any music that inspires movement
- Vata: mild pastel shades and earth tones
- Pitta: soft, cool colors such as blues, greens, and whites
- Kapha: bright, bold colors such as reds and oranges; bold shapes and patterns
- Vata: warm, sweet, or sour aromas like basil, orange, and spices like clove and cinnamon
- Pitta: sweet, cool aromas like rose, mint, jasmine, and lavendar
- Kapha: warm aromas with spicy overtones like juniper, eucalyptus, and clove
Always listen to your own intuition first as it knows you best. Ayurveda teaches this type of awareness and how to use it to create the life you want. Play around with the doshas and senses and see what inspires you—there are no strict rules here.
Creating Sacred Space
The natural world has always been a part of our ritual cleansing for thousands of years. Invite her in as final step in your clearing process in whatever way you choose.
One way is to try smudging your home. The burning of sage, cedar, palo santo, etc., is said to carry your prayers to those who would listen and answer, according to my Native American heritage. It is also used for cleansing negative, stagnant energy both within you and around you. As you go around your home and offer up prayers of your intentions, hold the thoughts and feelings of your vision and allow the smoke to infuse it within each room.
If you are attracted to the mineral world, use different mineral forms to help you in your cleansing process. Selenite is popular and is nice to have in each room to create a peaceful space. Rose quartz invites more love and calms anger and resentment. Himalayan salt lamps are soothing to look at and can provide a calming atmosphere in the home. Do some research and see what types of stones you might want to use. Even more fun is to visit a gem and mineral store and notice what you are attracted to—usually it will be exactly what you need. Before placing it in your home, be sure to clean it with salt water (make sure it won’t dissolve) or smudge it. You don’t want to be carrying home anyone else’s energetic baggage.
It’s time to embrace the season of spring by bringing more lightness and clarity into your life! Cleanse the spirit by cleansing the home and see the changes it can make in your life. Any time you begin to feel stagnant, dull, or uninspired, feel free to put to use any of these ideas to “cleanse” your internal and external space. Luckily, you have plenty of tools to help support you—you sometimes just need to remind yourself that you have them.
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