"Cleanliness is next to godliness" is true for yogis. However, being clean means more than taking a shower and throwing my yoga tights in the wash after practice. It relates to the choices I make for my food, my cosmetics, my home, and my heart.
My food choices have evolved continuously. Four years ago, I started eliminating gluten and realized I felt much better. Inspired by my arthritic hip, I continued to cut out foods that could cause an inflammatory reaction, for me that includes dairy. Now when I look in my fridge, there's no room for pesticides or insecticides. I buy organic. Mostly produce. My meats are sourced locally - organic chicken and buffalo. Our pantry holds nuts and seeds, some canned beans and tomatoes, but - much to my teenager's dismay - no processed snack foods. In fact, I don't even buy any processed foods anymore.
For cosmetics, I make my own lotion: shea butter, cacao butter, sesame oil and coconut oil. Nothing more, nothing less. The skin is my largest organ and I decide I don't want to put chemicals on it that I can't pronounce.
I keep my house clean with bio-safe cleaning supplies - most of which I purchase through
Melaleuca. I use their essential oils for aromatherapy also - no burning chemical candles or aerosol cans of Febreeze in my house.
And as for my heart, I keep it clean of doubts and worries by listening to inspiring music (and singing along when I am home alone). Check out Rickie Byars-Beckwith, Michael Gott, Krishna Das, Deva Premal & Miten, Karen Drucker. They all lift me up. I also read spiritual books; a regular companion is "Yoga Sutras of Patanjali". And for clarity of my mind, I practice single-mindedness: meditating while focusing on my breath, a mantra or the sensations of my body.
I'm not perfect: I am a recovering sugar addict and struggle with relapses. I get easily distracted and multitask so many projects, I can only keep them straight with lists. Regularly, I get sucked into the Facebook quagmire and never recover the time lost in that sinkhole.
But as they say in German: "Einsicht ist der erste Weg zur Besserung" or "Realization is the first step toward betterment."