My mother has passed down many wonderful ways of being to me – from her kindness to her honesty.
She also passed along little habits of living that later I began to question. A few years ago, both of us were shocked to learn that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. I remember the impact of it reverberating through my life in many big and small ways.
At one point, I was sitting on my bed, reading a magazine. The article pointed out that petrolatum, the stuff that Vaseline is made out of, is considered a “probable human carcinogen” by the European Union and is banned for all personal care products.
Yikes! I had just smeared Vaseline on my lips. My mom, who had been just recently diagnosed, taught me that habit..
Saucha, one of Yoga’s ten ethical guidelines (the yamas and the niyamas) calls for “purity” in the mind-body and spirit.
This means getting less cluttered and heavy, physically and mentally. Releasing toxic thoughts and habits can bring about a lightness and clarity to our being. There is oneness in yoga, so as we purify our minds, we purify our bodies and vise-versa.
That day I read about petrolatum (then quickly wiped it off), I set on a path to have more Saucha, more purity in the things I ingested, put on my body, or used in my home.
Can things really be that toxic?
Until our eyes are opened, most of us don’t even realize that most home and personal care products out there are toxic.
Common household chemicals have been linked to more than 200 health problems including asthma, depression, anxiety, various cancers (including breast, ovarian and brain), birth defects and developmental disabilities, as well as reproductive, cardiovascular and immune system disorders. Many of these chemicals are stored in our bodies and accumulate over time to cause health problems after years of gradual exposure.
And women are exposed to far more chemicals than men because we use more personal care products and makeup. When we think that 60% of what we put on our skin is absorbed into the bloodstream, we start to question what we are using. For me, my mother’s cancer diagnosis made it clear that I didn’t want to have any of these carcinogens in my life. I needed to cleanse and purify the products I was using.
How do we start to introduce more saucha into this click on this link part of our lives?
- Read the ingredients list. Check out the “Dirty Dozen” list for chemicals to avoid. You can start small with getting rid of things with one nasty chemical at a time. I started ousting products with petrolatum and parabens. Parabens are synthetic preservatives, widely used in cosmetics and other personal-care products, and they have shown up in breast cancer tumors.
- Choose fragrance-free products. The fragrance industry keeps it’s ingredients secret and they are not tested by the government for safety. Laboratory tests commissioned by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and analyzed by Environmental Working Group revealed 38 secret chemicals in 17 brand-name products. The average fragrance product tested contained 14 secret chemicals not listed on the label. Among them are chemicals associated with hormone disruption and allergic reactions.
- Choose organic, plant-based products. I use simple almond oil for a moisturizer for face and body, and I love my Tarte cosmetics. There are tons of natural alternatives to chemical-laden products, but they aren’t often found in a conventional drug store.
- Educate yourself. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has a database that will help you find out if the products you have now are toxic.
The path of yoga is a path of awareness above all. Nurturing our bodies doesn’t end when you get off the mat, of course, and I hope that this helps you bring more Saucha into your life and your children’s lives.
What do you think?
Have you started paying attention to what you put on your skin, or are you overwhelmed? Let’s get the conversation started below.
Thank you so very much for reading! I hope that my sharing helps make your world brighter. Please share if this could help someone!
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