Spring Cleaning – A Guide to Decluttering Our Homes and Our Hearts

Growing up, I remember breathing in fresh, floral notes as the earth sprouted green carpet and colorful buds.  The smoke from the chimney was gradually replaced by the charcoal of my neighbor’s grill. I would always take notice when he simultaneously trimmed the weeds in his yard and the hair on his face, revealing bright purple flowers and the fact that he was not a character from the Lord of the Rings. Perhaps I was simply amazed that he could shed a layer of himself so easily, and grow something so much greater.

My insatiable desire for warm weather and barbeques is something that has transcended into my late 20’s and has me convinced that I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. Despite my appreciation for nearly everything related to Spring, there is one seasonal activity that has always made me cringe; Spring Cleaning. My OCD tendencies would lead one to believe that I would welcome this activity. However, Spring Cleaning does not only imply wiping down furniture with Clorox wipes or artfully arranging yoga mats and books; it also implies throwing items away. For me, this has never been easy.

As someone who grew up with parents that were opposed to clutter, I have always prided myself on being closer to a minimalist than a hoarder. Paradoxically, I tend to hold on to things with emotional sentiment. I save birthdays cards, photographs, and souvenirs as though they are legal documents that could rescue me from a precarious lawsuit. I also allow myself to procrastinate the inevitable, because it is never easy to eliminate something from your life that you care about.

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Springing Ahead

It has been said that “things left undone can be our own undoing.” For this reason, I promised myself that this Spring would be different. I would dispose of things that no longer fit me, as they would ultimately create stress and waste my time. As I began to clean, I noticed a dress in my closet that once hugged my body in just the right way. However, as I slipped it on, I realized that I had outgrown it. I had kept it for so long because I loved the way it fit at one time. I now know that we cannot hold onto things out of comfort or fear of a future without them.

The Twisted Truth

My yoga teacher recently shared that Spring Cleaning is necessary in all aspects of our lives, because it makes space for new things. Did you know that certain yoga poses help us dispose of what we no longer have space for and make room for future potential?  Twisting poses can encourage blood flow, eliminate toxins, reduce abdominal bloating and aid digestion.

I’ll show you how to complete one of my favorite twisting poses, Seated Spinal Twist.

1. Begin in a seated position.

2. Bend your left knee and place your left foot outside your right hip.

2. Then, bring your right foot over your left knee.

3. Place your right hand behind your hips and hook your left elbow outside your right knee.

4. Lift your spine, twist to the right side, and gaze over your right shoulder. Then, do the same sequence on the other side.

To make this more challenging, hook your left elbow over your right knee and thread your left hand through your left leg. With frequent practice and perhaps the use of props such as a strap or a towel, you will be able to connect your hands. No matter the variation, you will reap the benefits and get closer to your ultimate goal.

Keep in mind: It takes a while for the body, heart and mind to open up to something new. Be comfortable with who and where you are, and what’s meant for you will find you when the timing is right.

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The Take Away

In addition to making space, Spring also gives us more time to fill that space. Daylight is longer and we are more motivated to do all the things we now have time for. This Spring, I made the commitment to follow my own passion; to become a certified yoga instructor. It will take a lot of time and commitment but I have learned that you create time and space for the things that you care about.

As we move through our yoga practice and other aspects of life, we have the power to choose what we release and what we hold tight. When you let go of the things that are no longer right for you (or they release you), you have the space to plant new seeds so you can continue to grow.

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