Healthy living has been a personal interest since my early teens. I have striven throughout my life to treat my body well, hence the yoga. However, because my understanding of what "healthy living" means has varied wildly over the years, I have not always lived healthfully and, in fact, knowingly and unknowingly, have done my body harm. I have abstained from this and partook of that, applied this and rinsed with that, but always felt a certain degree of self-defeat in my efforts to feed and care for myself with complicated diets and chemical-laden products. But the alternatives were few, I thought, and sometimes frightening.
This year, despite the challenge, I decided to make a big push in the direction of natural health. With the help of Kiki Flynn and her fabulous Youtube channel, plus a smattering of other blogs that you can find in the Damn Good blogroll, I have eliminated or replaced all of my personal health and hygiene products with totally natural alternatives. I have also simplified my diet, improved my digestion, and begun to make my own cleaning products for the home. This has been wonderful for my health and peace of mind, but it has also been -- and continues to be -- a lot of work.
Natural health takes time. Fortunately, I seem to have a lot of it. But what if I didn't? If I worked a 9-5 plus my daily practice, not to mention dog walks and other domestic responsibilities, how could I possibly have time for neti every morning? And tongue scraping? And dry brushing, plus the oil massage before my shower? And, afterwards, combing out my natural hair without the chemical lubricants of conditioners and shampoo? And shaving, and tweezing, and powdering and blushing and all that other shit I have to do to look attractive and professional and show my self-respect? There's no way.
Also, natural health is filthy. My bathroom sink is constantly stained with neem dust, green clay, oils, and salts. I can scrub my tub clean, and two days later, there's another ring of oily scum around the base. Both drains in the bathroom clog with regularity, so I have to boil pots of water to free the pipes. And, because I'm cleaning more and using cloths instead of cotton balls or tissue on my face, I do a bit more laundry.
Still, I think it's worth it. My skin -- which has always been sensitive and problematic -- is smooth, clear, and healthy. I feel wonderful. I have less tension. Less inflammation. Less muscle soreness after practice and more energy than ever before. There is a deep sense of satisfaction in the hands on, self-loving approach of natural health and beauty, and this daily work has attuned me more fully to the rhythms of both my physical and emotional lives.
I am considering composing a series of posts on the subject of natural health, sharing my experiences and insight on how to manage these tasks in the least messy and most efficient, economical, and ecologically conscious way.
Readers: Is this a topic that interests you? What obstacles do you find in your natural health endeavors? Are there solutions that you seek? Let me know in the comments.