Yoga teachers often begin the centering process by asking students to release that which does not serve them. Releasing the stress of the day, nagging worries and the items on our to-do list is a necessary step to focus our attention on the present. Just as clutter in our minds can hinder our ability to fully engage in practice, clutter in our homes and lives can prevent us from engaging fully in life.
Take your spring cleaning up a notch and deepen your practice at the same time by considering de-owning. Instead of organizing and re-organizing increasing amounts of stuff every year, get rid of that which no longer serves you.
After all, when we organize, we simply rearrange the same stuff, usually by buying more stuff, such as containers and crates, to hold it all. It’s a never-ending, and stressful, process. Spring is the time for change.
De-owning - by giving things to friends, donating to charities or selling - provides a permanent solution and real change.
The benefits of de-owning include:
- You gain physical space in your home and closets. The concept of feng shui teaches us that energy flows best through open spaces. Bonus: more room to roll out your mat.
- You feel the pleasure of giving. The baby supplies your children have outgrown may be a lifesaver to a new mother. Used clothing and furniture are always in demand for those in need. Animal shelters can use your old blankets and towels.
- You can reduce debt or at least raise a little cash. Sell extra and outgrown items. The process is easier than ever with large online outlets such as eBay and Craigslist, and a growing number of online local swap sites are fun and fast.
- You realize that fewer possessions require fewer choices which means less stress. Decisions are time consuming. A closet stripped down to only the clothes you love will make every day easier. Paring down the amount of holiday decorations we put out and repack every year can greatly reduce stress at a hectic time.
- Freedom from the cycle of wanting. Whether it’s the latest technology or sandal, removing possessions permanently can help us evaluate our lives and how we find joy. True change for many of us may be moving from a focus on the pleasure of acquiring to the pleasure of doing, exploring and experiencing.
Yoga philosophy emphasizes minimalism and simplicity. These ideas can and should mean different
things for different students. Learning about de-owning from someone who is living a minimalist lifestyle can help you apply the principles. Charli Prather will offer a workshop on the topic at Valley Vinyasa on April 18 (learn more and register here)
“Our culture is driven to find happiness in possessions, but why do I need more than one set of dishes?” said Charli, a Valley Vinyasa yoga teacher and psychotherapist. “De-owning is finding joy in your space, not always filling it with something else.”