Although suffering some neglect and receiving less attention in some western health systems, hygiene nevertheless is the basic discipline in order to experience health and remain free of disease. Inadequate attention to hygiene in the community and particularly in hospitals is causing some concern.
Hatha yoga practices include attention to internal cleansing as well as external hygiene.
Students of yoga are instructed from a young age to be aware of the need for cleanliness and with the co-operation of parents, some additional methods can be added to current home practices.
One of the simplest is to cleanse the tongue after brushing the teeth. This is usually done with a special tool but can also be effective using a toothbrush, as long as attention is given to thorough washing afterwards. The old traditional method in India is to use the fig tree root or stem or other appropriate organic plant material that can serves as a toothbrush and means of flossing between the teeth.
Another is to use the method of brushing the skin to stimulate circulation and to eliminate the dead cells that accumulate. This is a practice common to many people the world over. The stimulus to the skin helps elimination of toxins that must otherwise find outlet through the kidneys. In cold climates without heavy perspiration through heat, the kidneys tend to be over burdened so skin brushing is particularly important.
In older age skin brushing not only improves general health but the skin texture and appearance is improved, and can correct dry flaky skin problems.
It is best to begin skin brushing lightly when young and this is encouraged in Yoga practice.