How Decluttering Your Home Relates to Yoga
- Do you want to learn how yoga relates to decluttering?
- The yamas and niyamas of yoga philosophy can guide your decluttering journey.
- Yoga is a philosophy and a lifestyle that is a way of being in the world that creates harmony inside and out.
Our homes need the harmony of yoga! Yoga is the perfect partner to any decluttering process.
As a decluttering coach I help clients to find their authentic self and their authentic home space.
As a yoga teacher I have studied the philosophy of yoga and seen its connection to how we care for not only ourselves, but also our living spaces.
How Does Yoga Philosophy Relate to Decluttering?
The Eight Limbs of Yoga come from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, a text written around 400 BCE that acts as a guide to daily living. The 5 yamas and 5 niyamas are the first two of those eight limbs.
The 5 Yamas and the Art of Decluttering Your Home
Yamas: The yamas are considered the restraints or moral disciplines that guide us in interacting with the world around us. Here the yamas will focus on the physical world of your home space. The 5 Yamas are: Ahimsa (non-harming), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (right use of energy), Aparigraha (non-attachment). You’ll see how these relate to the yoga of decluttering.
1. Ahimsa (non-violence, non-harming) at Home
- Your home environment needs be as free from harm as your mind and body. If your home is cluttered, it likely causes you anxiety, which is harmful.
- It may also cause shame, which is even more harmful.
Giving yourself the gift of a home that creates a sense of peace and relief
is the cornerstone of the decluttering and organizing journey.
2. Satya (honesty, truthfulness) and the Yoga of Decluttering
- We are far too good at lying to ourselves about what we’re going to do and when.
- You say you’re going to get to that closet Saturday, and then something always manages to come up.
- You say you “just don’t have the time.”
- This is a lie. We all have the time for the things we prioritize.
To prioritize your home is to prioritize yourself.
There are many other lies you may tell yourself that keep you stuck like “I can’t”, “I’m just a slob”, “I’m not good at this sort of thing”, and so forth. You are a unique and wonderful individual who can make the time and face your truth to create a home of joy.
3. Asteya (non-stealing) in Our Homes
We steal from ourselves and others. Time, joy, hope, safety, and peace are just a few of the things we steal.
When your home is cluttered it takes longer to do everything,
therefore you are stealing time from yourself.
The same can be said for things like peace and joy.
- How peaceful have you ever felt when looking at a disorganized closet?
- How joyful are you when you’re trying to find something to wear in an overstuffed cabinet?
- In decluttering your home you are honoring yourself by giving to yourself instead of taking.
4. Brahmacharya (right use of energy)
- To be mindful and intentional in your own home is to decide how you want to spend your energy.
- Do you want to spend your energy being frustrated at the state of your home?
- Or would you like to spend your energy enjoying the space you have created for yourself, sharing it with friends and family?
It does take a lot of energy to tidy a cluttered home in the first place,
but it is a right use of energy focused on caring for yourself.
5. Aparigraha (non-attachment) and Decluttering
- You are allowed to release your attachment to the obligation to keep that butter dish your grandmother gave you, even though you already have one you like better.
- You are allowed to release the feelings of shame that hold you back.
- You are allowed to release your attachment to the material objects in your home, while still enjoying those you choose to keep.
- Attachment to things, feelings and beliefs is how a home becomes cluttered in the first place.
The 5 Niyamas and the Art of Decluttering Your Home
The Niyamas generally refer to the duties we have to ourselves, and how we show up in the world.
Here the niyamas will guide you in your relationship with your home. The 5 Niyamas are: Saucha (cleanliness), Santosha (contentment), Tapas (self-discipline), Svadhyaya (self-study), and Ishvara Pranidhana (surrender to something greater than ourselves).
1. Saucha (cleanliness, purity) and a Healthy Home
It may seem like a given that saucha is tightly linked to the decluttered home. In theory a decluttered home is clean, right? Only if you keep it that way!
Dust and grime block energy, and the decluttered home is far easier to care for because there is less to clean. Saucha also includes cleansing the energy of your home. Ridding your space of energy-clogging items, like broken or unused things, creates space beyond the physical to live and grow.
2. Santosha (contentment) and Feeling Comfortable at Home
I see self-sabotaging behaviors in my clients who do not believe they deserve to have a tidy home or happiness.
Allowing contentment is not always easy when you are accustomed to being discontented.
When you decide you are worthy of contentment you are free to release any expectations of perfection that block you from being satisfied with what you have.
Santosha allows you to relax in your home and be at peace with what is.
3. Tapas (self-discipline) and the Yoga of Decluttering
To maintain any habit requires discipline. To maintain a yoga practice requires self-discipline and to maintain a home you love requires self-discipline.
For example, instead of leaving the mail on the kitchen table every day and letting it pile up, make a new habit of going through the mail immediately and putting each item in a designated space takes commitment to consistency.
Once you declutter your home it will only stay that way when you attend to it.
You don’t have to be hyper-vigilant, but you do need to have systems in place that work for you and the willingness to have the self-discipline to use them.
4. Svadhyaya (self-study) at Home
- Your ability to learn is one of your greatest gifts.
- Learning about the world around you helps you sustain your relationships with the people around you: including friends, family members, and coworkers.
- The willingness to study yourself and have insight into yourself, creates your growth.
- If you block yourself from learning, you will stagnate at home.
- If you block yourself from personal insight and self-honesty, you will remain stuck.
- And you may not understand why you cannot motivate yourself to care for your home or to maintain the momentum when you do begin.
Take the time to look inside and out and learn something every day.
5. Ishvara Pranidhana (surrender to something greater)
There is a point at which all of the pushing and planning and preparing in the world won’t get the job done.
You live in a world full of wonder. Open yourself up to solutions by taking a deep breath and believing that what needs to happen in your home will happen. You are a part of that wonder.
- Manifest the home you want by creating a clear picture of that home.
- See the space you desire in your mind’s eye.
- Imagine the smells, sounds, and energy of the home of your dreams.
- Now let that picture become a reality by letting go of anxiety and expectations.
Living Yoga: Get Started Decluttering Your Home
- Begin your journey and take one small piece of this information.
- When you are ready for the next piece it will be there.
The beauty of yoga is that it builds upon itself naturally. Give yourself the gift of using these teachings that have been around for millennia as a guide for the life you deserve and a home you can live your life in with harmony and joy.
Kate Evans is the owner of Soulful Space, a virtual life coaching and decluttering company. Kate helps overwhelmed women declutter their lives and homes. She has worked in the field of psychology since 2004, is an RYT-200 certified yoga teacher, and a writer currently working on a book bringing self-help and decluttering together for lasting change. To learn more about Kate, the work she does, and to read her weekly blog for your mind, body, soul, and space, go to www.soulfulspacecoaching.com. Kate can also be found on Instagram and Facebook @soulfulspace.coaching.