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Mindful Chores: Exploring Yoga's Role in Homekeeping

So lately I've been hearing: "I thought you were a yoga teacher.  What does the state of my home or how clean or sloppy I am have to do with yoga?"  

I'm glad you asked!  You’re right, I AM a yoga teacher!  So let me drop some tidbits for you that I don’t get to drop in the yoga ASANA (poses) classes I teach that often.

Usually, when people come to yoga classes (especially in the West), they are only practicing ONE out of the 8 limbs of yoga - asanas (postures).  This is only ONE out of the EIGHT limbs of yoga, and even then, these 8 limbs are in only ONE of the FOUR PATHS of yoga!  


The 8 limbs of yoga (which is called Ashtanga actually, which is not just that sweaty active form of asana sequences that Ashtanga is usually known as), belongs to the Raja Yoga path (Raja mean's king - the king’s path, meaning you are managing your body-mind-spirit temple the way a ruler manages the empire).  

So actually, whenever you “go to yoga class”, you are actually practicing ONE out of the eight limbs of Raja Yoga, which is only 1 path to moksha (liberation), or if you are more into Buddhism as I was raised, then nirvana (breaking free from suffering and the cycles of rebirths).  If Raja yoga is your chosen path (that practicing asanas are under, the point of which is to prep you for the meditations that come in the other limbs), then the other seven limbs must also be incorporated into your regiment to get the most of the Raja yoga path (the name Raja, how patriarchal!  But this is the world we've lived in. I would like to suggest playing with considering this to be a Rani path as well if you’re a QUEEN/EMPRESS ruling your empire (Rani means queen, as Raja means king) - however, leading and controlling an empire regardless of gender is masculine energy, which makes sense then why this is called Raja yoga, but I digress and this is a whole other topic of discussion).  

Back to the point of this post:   In spring cleaning season, I’m focusing on the path of SERVICE, which is Karma yoga.  The yoga of ACTION and selfless service (Seva).

For my straight male yogis out there, this is one way and an opportunity for you to balance all that is wrong with current day toxic masculinity, which a lot of has to do with EGO.  In practicing the Karma yoga path, you get to offer your SERVICE, leaving the ego behind, to the divine.  Dare I add, the divine FEMININE?  Now THIS is some patriarchy-smashing healing MAGIC!  Because when you serve the divine, then you open yourself up for BLESSINGS from the divine!  Men who are ruled by ego, domineering, controlling, oppressing, and one-upping block their own blessings and love that would be available to them if they would just open their hearts and be HUMBLE, at least once in a while, damn it.  Look around, we got womxn practicing Karma yoga all around us and we don’t even realize it.  Fellas can help balance these vibes out and practice HARMONY in their households.

So, what are examples of Karma yoga?  Serving vegan lunches every Wednesday at Skid Row with Food Not Bombs every week for a couple years during quarantine was one (before the fire that destroyed my home and kitchen we cooked out of).  Another example is simply beginning to learn the magic of practicing caring for the temple your body resides in (your home) in meditation.  

There are plenty of slobs out there like myself who are on top of personal hygiene and smell lovely, but tank when it comes to their HOME TEMPLE environment.  And your home temple environment reflects what’s going on with you on the inside, whether we hate to see this truth or not. What do you need to heal? Look around!

For the morbidly curious clean-freaks here reading this for some reason (welcome!), if your home is so damn perfect looking, similiar to the one I grew up in, I invite you to look at who you live with: Are they calm, happy, peaceful, and overall content? Or walking on eggshells and trying to prevent your next outburst by hoping the pad is clean enough to avoid your wrath? Have you bothered to look? Do you care about how they feel? I grew up like this, so when I was older and out of that, I went the opposite direction to not be reminded of my past. This is the opposite extreme and a different version of toxic. Our home temples are supposed to be our SANCTUARY, not a place of stress, punishment, walking on eggshells, and waiting for the next episode of crazy.  

For many of us from dysfunctional toxic families who grew up in chaos, who maybe even have trauma around basic adulting household chores that we all need to do (I was basically reminded every day that womon-chores are my duty because I’m a 2nd class citizen, so I chose the ass-whoopin’ every time over doing any chore my brother wasn’t forced to do)…. A Karma yoga approach can be an approach to healing these parts of us AND also the environments we create for ourselves to live in.  It can also be a way for fellas to receive blessings from the overwhelmed goddesses they have at home who haven’t been humbly served in quite a while (or ever?) and things are stagnant.  

Now, for people on all sides of the spectrum from slob to drill sergeant perfect: Karma yoga is also the act of selfless service, WITHOUT ATTACHMENT TO THE OUTCOME. This is healing for everybody here!

The perfect drill sergeants need to accept the folks in their home as they are, along with all their imperfections, and embrace them. Yes, you can have everyone do their duties around the house, AND you can practice not being a withholding asshole who only gives rare crumbs of validation ONLY when things are perfect, and dishes out criticisms the rest of the time. You get to practice all of you spending quality time working on your home practicing presence with your loved ones, without expecting perfection!

To the slobs like myself, you don't need to be attached to the outcome of the PERFECT house, where if you don't attain it within a few hours, then you must be a failure and then throw that candy wrapper on the floor and give up. You can appreciate and give yourself love for the chores you DID do, notice when you slip, and then GENTLY put yourself back on track, just like the rest of recovery work. You can celebrate your progress every time you improve and take the trash out (materially AND spiritually). You can work on yourself and enjoy your progress without being attached to perfection.

With Karma Yoga, we practice humility, acceptance, giving love, serving others (and yourself in the process), and we all win!

Is this approach an overnight success?  Not for me, and not for most of us.  Healing up and recovery work is a JOURNEY, with ups and downs, and slips.  Do I have a perfect home?  No, but I’ve come a LONG WAY, and over time continue to develop lasting habits that contribute to my healing journey.  They go hand in hand, and I’m excited to share what I’ve learned with you!

My “From Chaos to Calm:  A Three Day Workshop On Creating Your Sanctuary Home” is April 9th-11th, 2024 where will will get into all of this!   Please go to to register.  It’s FREE!


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