As I’ve said before, no amount of sun salutations or meditation will change who you are, but rather allow you to accept ALL that you are without judgement or derision. I accept all that I am, including my germicidal tendencies. My best friend and I joke about our shared quirk, what gives us the heebie jeebies and how to get past them. It’s my mountain to climb, folks. I’ll meet you at base camp.
My ‘concern’ about germs started after I was hospitalized with a respiratory infection a decade ago. And, thanks countless blogs and hidden camera television shows about ‘where germs lurk’, I’m pretty much a regular hand washer and microbe sheriff. On a scale of 1 to Howard Hughes, I’d say I’m about a 6 or 7. I do what I can to stay healthy in a world of colds and flu. That said, I find the Niyama ‘Saucha’ right up my alley.
A clean yogi is a Saucha yogi
Saucha is often translated to mean cleanliness, clarity, purity or even simplicity. Foundationally, saucha is concerned with keeping different energies distinct, and protects the sanctity of the energy around us. Part of this has to do with the physical plane and how we treat our bodies and our surroundings. I think I’ve got this one down.
Day-to-day practice & teaching
So what’s a germaphobic yogi to do? On a day to day basis, I exercise common sense mixed with ayurveda. I shower everyday, use a neti pot to keep my sinus passages clean, I wash my hands before I eat, after I go to the bathroom, after I shake someone’s hand, stay home when I’m sick, and I keep my surroundings clean. In my personal asana practice, I use incense to clear the air of negative energy, I practice pranayama to rid my lungs of toxins, I clean my mat, and I put away my props.
When I teach, I try to create a healthy environment free of germs. I protect myself and students by washing my hands between classes — particularly if I’ve done any hands-on adjusting. On a larger level, I encourage students to leave shoes by the door when they enter and to put away their props and leave the studio as clean as when they entered. P.S. I’m not alone in my quest for clean. The blog, Vegan Cinephile did a post called, “Yoga Cooties: My favorite green cleaning products.” You had me at cooties, VC.
Travel kit & survival tactics (think
Ok, so we’ve got day to day covered, now here’s where it will either seem over the top or enlightening. Either way I’m arming you with ideas. Travelling and public places are a whole other ball of ear wax. I don’t touch handles, particularly escalator handles. I flush public toilets with my feet, I open bathroom doors with a paper towel, I use hand eco-friendly hand sanitizer and I’ve been known to bust out the Clorox green cleansing wipes to wipe down a cafeteria table. Don’t get me started on the public pens we use to sign everything… Accept it. I have. Let’s put it this way, if you could see germs, you’d wash your hands.
Germaphobic Yogi’s Travel Kit Essentials
Hotels & airplanes propel us into yet another dimension of protection & safety. So, here’s what I take with me when I’m traveling and know I’ll be staying in a hotel (you’ll thank me later).
- Clorox green wipes – You never know who was in the airplane seat or touching the hotel room remote before you.
- Hand sanitizer – Self-explanatory.
- Resealable plastic bags – Use these to store your shoes in a suitcase so you’re not transferring microbes to your clothes and toiletries. Plus you can seal up dirty laundry or any linens you brought from home.
- Tissues – Keep your own germs to yourself. Be the solution.
- Allergy pillow protectors – I zip up hotel pillows with an allergen protecting cover and bring my own pillow cases.
- Travel Lysol – I do spray down surfaces in case housekeeping wasn’t thorough.
- Talcum powder – I’ve seen a variety of sources that suggest sprinkling talc as it acts like diatomaceous earth which bed bugs are resistant to.
- Vitamin C, Echinacea & Zinc – I do up my intake of vitamins prior to travel to give my immune system a boost.
- iPhone white noise app – A good night’s sleep is key to staying healthy and hotel noise can be distracting.
Of course, I recognize the need to expose myself to bacteria so that I can build up a tolerance, which happens all the time (unless you truly live in a bubble), but that doesn’t mean I have to leave myself completely vulnerable. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to come face to face with one of your quirks and celebrate it. We are who we are, warts and all. Happy cleansing.
- Your Charmed Yogi
(Photo: Yelltale Blog)