What is clutter? According to Webster, clutter is a disorderly heap or assemblage; a state or condition of confusion; or to fill or litter with things in a disorderly matter.
Why is it that so many of us hold onto clutter—whether it be stuff in a junk drawer or a disorganized closet or pantry, friends who give off negative energy, bad memories, even fat stored in your body—when it’s taking up vital space that can energize and fulfill us? It’s often because we have an emotional attachment to clutter, whatever it is, and don’t want to let it go. The truth is, clutter traps us and hinders us from becoming what I call “YogaLean.”
We have the power to declutter, just like we have the power to say no to a side of French fries. Healthy living doesn’t just mean diet and exercise. It also means limiting stressors that enter our lives and stick around, like that unneeded stuff clogging space.
Space! You need it, I need it, and your family needs it. We need space in our schedules to exercise, practice yoga, prepare healthy food, and meditate. We need space to move around and not feel trapped. We need space to breathe and step away from the hustle of our day-to-day.
Yoga gives us both physical and mental space and, guess what, our environment is also in need of this space. I have a theory that overeating is like hoarding but with food, cluttering our bodies with what we consume. I believe that many people who hoard are overweight, and when I asked one of our YogaFit trainers if she ever worked at an overweight client’s home who had a neat and orderly kitchen, she agreed: A certain level of disorganization is usually associated with someone who has a “disorganized body.”
There is a direct correlation between maintaining an orderly household and maintaining your ideal weight. If you begin a weight loss journey, you need to start with a clean slate, clearing the clutter and taking back the energy that is buried under your stuff. Many times we become a hostage to our possessions but remember that all matter takes up space and energy. If things are in disarray, we may spend more time rummaging through them than we do on developing ourselves as a person.
When our physical environment is simplified and organized, we have more mental and emotional space available to create and grow. When our kitchen reflects the same care and order we desire in our personal life, the time we spend there and the meals we produce become capable of nourishing us in new ways. Taking time to make our kitchen a “sacred space” is an integral part of being YogaLean.
I spend an enormous amount of time thinking about the benefits of a clear space—organizing, decluttering, and how it all relates to aspects of one’s life. And I’ve developed a little concept I like to call “zen-tervention,” meaning when we organize the physical applications of our life and our stuff, we are then able to better facilitate our fitness program, food program, financial program, and pretty much any other program that we want.
When you tackle your personal zen-tervention, you will go through three steps: assessment, visualization, and clearing the decks. In each phase, you must embrace honesty and non-judgment. No one, not even yourself, is judging you for the clutter. So don’t worry about that. But with each item, assess why you are holding onto it and if it is serving you.