Cleanliness is a no brainer when it comes to YOGA!
I am hoping to bridge the gap, connect the disconnect, of life-grooming etiquette that comes with starting a yoga practice. SAUCHA, which is a Sanskrit word and pillar in the foundations of yoga, refers to cleanliness. There are infinite ways to express cleanliness with the body, mind and spirit. While studio classes can lightly dip toes in the concept, I really wanted to dive in for my teen yogis. Cleanliness changed my life! It now brings me such joy.
When teaching at a high school, it was imperative for me to implement the discipline of SAUCHA. Not only does cleanliness align with any and all school principles and values, but it also instills respect. Prior to creating the ZEN DEN, pictured in the photos above, there was a physical disrespect present with their yoga tools. Mats danced with basketballs, volleyball nets, garbage, lost and found items, theater props, HIIT equipment- think, storage closet chaos.
THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE.
Yoga mats and props must be treated with respect, just like you treat the pillow that you rest your head on for a good night’s sleep. I found that it was easy to hold my students accountable to cleanliness for 2 solid reasons:
- I instilled SAUCHA STEWARD/ESS into their grade. They received participation points for maintaining the tidiness of the prop area, as well as group participation points for creating YOGA MAT SPRAY, cleaning their mats, and practicing moving meditation. I taught a class on how to use essential oils to clean everything, and at the end of teach week, we clean our mats with tea tree oil and water! We use recycled cleaning spray bottles, decorated with fun Yoga images 🙂
- Cleanliness genuinely brings joy. With only a few weeks of upkeep, the Den can maintain a true level of ZEN. Discipline breeds freedom, and the calming affect of having a clean space is undeniable. When the room is disrespected, it sticks out right away. Most students find motivation in keeping the den clean after practicing cleanliness regularly.
I chose to decorate the ZEN DEN with their coloring pages! Students practiced moving meditation with mandala coloring. Letters of gratitude, and the definition of SAUCHA, are also provided and taped onto the walls.
You know I wanted to stick a Free Little Library in there! 🙂
I loved implementing SAUCHA into the classroom because I was never taught cleanliness in an academic setting.
I had one foundational math teacher in my Catholic high-schooling who was a stickler for handwriting, written formula steps, and cleanliness of our homework assignments. While I loathed her at 17, I adore her at 29, and so I hope to truly empower the meaning of NAMASTE and pass forward the act of cleanliness by example. This takes unique forms, and I love the challenge of applying SAUCHA to all subjects!
UPCYCLE TIP- these bins are all old packing bins I have acquired over the years. I had been meaning to reorganize 6-7 bins that we have stored, and this prompted me to DETACH, clean, organize, and SAUCHA myself. Ah, the student-teacher relationship. Some of these old bins said ‘XMAS’ decorations from my parent’s old shed! I decorated and covered the fronts with what I have and donated them to the cause. PRO TIP- adhere with GLUE GUN instead of tape.
And truly, it’s not that hard to stack your yoga mats in lovely unison! WHAT A PRIVILEGE IT IS TO HAVE YOGA IN SCHOOL, to have individual mats you do not have to share, and to have safe place to store them without needing to lug it to and fro. You have it lucky, my loves! 🙂