Cleanliness according to ancient yoga tradition

14 February 2022
14 February 2022

Cleanliness according to ancient yoga tradition

You know the saying: ‘rest, regularity and cleanliness’, the pillars of raising a child. But actually they are just as important for adults. Rest, so that your body and mind can recover, and regularity to have a stable biorhythm. Cleanliness also speaks for itself: good hygiene so that you do not become ill due to contamination with a bacteria or virus. However, you can look beyond that. Within Hinduism and yoga, the meaning of cleansing is reflected in the conviction that the body is the temple of the soul and that this temple must be kept clean.

Kriyas in yoga (often applied for centuries) are physical cleansing techniques. Kriyas cleanse the human body by stimulating the body’s secretory mechanisms. There are various kriyas, in which different techniques and tools are used. In this blog I discuss a few cleansing exercises from ancient traditions in yoga.

Tongue cleaning
The tongue is the mirror for the condition of the intestines. A coating on the tongue shows the presence of Ama. Ama is undigested toxic material with many bacteria. The coating is a waste product, just like urine or sweat. Cleaning your tongue every morning before the practice removes millions of bacteria, improves the quality of your saliva, improves digestion and gives you fresh breath. Cleaning the tongue is also symbolic of cleaning and loving what we put into our body (food and drink) and what we let out (speech, language). You use a tongue scraper to clean your tongue.

Rinse nose
The healing effect of Himalayan salt, to deal with diseases of the respiratory system, has been known for centuries. In Ayurveda (Indian health sciences) and yoga, nasal rinses are a common part of the daily morning ritual. By stimulating the nasal mucosa, the natural immune system and the function of the nasal mucosa and the upper respiratory tract can be strengthened. The delicate connection between the nose and sinuses is kept open with the neti pot. The neti pot, the name of the jug with which the nasal rinse is done, comes from Jala Neti (Jala = water and Neti = cleaning). Jala Neti is just as common in India as brushing your teeth. The application is simple, by means of the neti pot you place an isotonic, body-warm saline solution in one nostril and rinse through the other. It opens the upper airways, improving breathing. This also provides relief from symptoms of hay fever, allergies and headaches, among other things.

Oil pulling
Swishing a tablespoon of sesame oil in your mouth daily for 3-5 minutes and actively pulling it between the teeth by mouth has countless health benefits. The fatty acids in the oil loosen and absorb the bacteria in the oral cavity. By finally spitting out the oil, you remove the bacteria. This also prevents a surplus of bad mouth bacteria. Benefits of oil pulling for the oral cavity include strengthening teeth and gums, promoting fresh breath, preventing bleeding gums and caring for the mouth and pharynx. Oil pulling is not only healthy for the mouth and teeth, but it also has an impact on overall health as many bacteria enter the body through the mouth. Other benefits may include reducing headaches, improving hormone balance, reducing eczema or relieving colds. Then wait about 15 minutes before drinking anything.

Lukewarm water with lemon
Drink a lukewarm glass of water with half a squeezed lemon on an empty stomach in the morning. Then drink a normal glass of lukewarm water. It helps to cleanse the digestive tract and get rid of toxins that have built up overnight. It is a form of intestinal detoxification for your body. The liver is extremely active during sleep as this is when your body repairs and regenerates itself. The citric acid in lemons protects the liver function and its functioning.

Tapping is a great way to wake up the body and to feel your body and home on a sensory level. Make sure to touch every part of the body by tapping, massaging or tapping. Do this with three fingers (soft), by cupping your hands (medium) or with your fists (hard). Take your time and do it your way. Listen to your needs.

Do you have a morning ritual (which also contributes to the R for regularity)? See if you want to apply one or more of the kriyas, it offers many health benefits!


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