In the seventh weekend of the Subtle Yoga Training and Personal Transformation Program, I teach a workshop called, “A Day in the Life of a Yogi.” We discuss what the traditional yogis were all about – their meditation and asana practices, devotional rituals, diets and cleansing routines including…potty habits.
Usually when I start talking about the way to use a toilet according to the yoga tradition, people’s eyes bug out a bit in something like an I-can’t-believe-she’s-actually-talking-about-this-in-public sort of way. But the thing is, for the most part, Americans have pretty, shall we say, messy toilet habits.
In fact, our bathroom routine hasn’t changed much since the days of the unwashed masses. We figured out how to clean our bodies about 100 years ago or so, but somehow the potty got left out. Europeans got it, even if they still don’t bathe as much as we might prefer. And the Indians have known for millenia that you gotta keep things clean down there – for a variety of reasons including avoiding urinary tract infections and keeping your lower chakras cool (especially relevant if you happen to be a celebate renunciate – Catholic priests please take note).
The problem of toilet paper – Americans consume it at a rate of 36.5 billion rolls a year. I remember reading “The City of Joy” about the slums of Kolkata. The protagonist goes to the outhouse and is accosted by the reprimanding glances of the slumdwellers who are lined up with him waiting their turn. It takes him a while, and then he realizes it’s because he’s brought toilet paper rather than a simple tin can filled with water. He soon catches on and has learned a valuable lesson about life in the slums.
But even if you are lucky enough to live in a country with modern day plumbing, too much toilet paper is not good for anything. And it’s pretty easy to change your routine. If you’re not up for the tin can approach, just keep a squirt bottle next to the toilet. After you use the toilet, give yourself a squirt, use your left hand for guidance. Dry off with toilet paper if you must. Wash hands well.
Several years ago, my friend bought a house in Asheville. She wanted a bidet, but was looking for a cheaper option. So instead she attached a kitchen sprayer to the water supply at the back of the toilet. Some other guy did the same thing recently and then he wrote a book about it. And now we’re off – America has come face to face with it’s dirty little secret. We’re finally getting it that you should really clean yourself and not just smear the whole mess around with toilet paper.
You can read the whole story here.
We need to clean up our act in this country in many ways, but let’s start with ourselves and our first chakras.