Sometimes, I feel a bit… off. I might spill coffee, break a dish, get honked at and flipped off, hurt a loved one’s feelings, and struggle to write even the most basic of sentences, all before 10 a.m. Then, an unexpected bill arrives in the mail, a job gets canceled, a friend surfaces a seemingly-sudden but actually-long-buried grievance, I’m forced to flake on something important, and my car breaks down, all before 10 p.m.
At times like these—which are rare, but less rare than I’d like—I start thinking about my “energy,” and how I need to somehow drag it out of the gutter. This impulse could also be understood as the need to cleanse my aura…assuming I actually understood what that means. Or knew what an aura was/is.
“Our ‘aura’ is our energetic body, and in my opinion it is a colorful reflection of our emotional body as well,” Reiki master Julie Civiello Polier tells me. “With our ever-changing emotions, the colors of the aura shift too.” She explains that she imagines the aura as a sort of bubble inside of which the body lives. It might be responsible for the “vibes” we give off, which is why it’s important we keep it in good shape. “This bubble is our responsibility to keep free, clean, and intact,” says Polier.
Hm, okay, but like, how does one keep their bubble well-maintained? Polier explains below.
3 quick ways to give your aura a quick scrub in order to be the best you
1. Breath work
“There are a million and one ways to breathe, and almost as many breath exercises for cleansing, so here’s one: begin with three deep and slow breaths in and out through the nose, watching your belly rise and fall; breathe in deeply through the nose and exhale in tiny, sharp breaths, pumping the diaphragm; continue inhaling and exhaling in these same tiny and sharp breaths, all the while pumping the belly,” Polier says. “This is called Kundalini‘s ‘breath of fire.'”
She recommends continuing this exercise for up to three minutes, or as desired, paying attention to what you feel in the process. “This is a great way to strengthen your aura so that you are able to clearly distinguish which feelings, thoughts, and sensations are yours from another’s. Often empaths and highly-sensitive people can take on others’ feelings and experiences as their own because they intuitively pick up the energy from other people simply by being in proximity. This breathing exercise cleanses and releases anything that is not ours to harbor in our bodies, so we can experience more freedom and presence,” says Polier.
2. Free-form writing
For this exercise, Polier recommends you find a space where you won’t be distracted, ideally a private space, and encourages you to turn off your phone. You can light a candle if that appeals to you, and then grab some loose leaf paper and your favorite writing utensil. “This is very important because you don’t want to reread this someday, so do not free form write in your journal,” she says.
If you prefer to work within a “container,” Polier suggests setting a timer; she usually chooses 10 minutes. “Write whatever thought comes first, which may even be, ‘I don’t know what to write…’,” she says. “Soon, words will flow out, sometimes so fast and so furiously your handwriting isn’t even legible nor recognizable.”
Once the timer goes off and/or you’re beginning to feel tired, stop. “If your timer goes off and there is still energy surging, and you’re still writing quickly and have a lot more to say, restart your timer,” she says. “I notice I’m finished when I’m very tired and my hand starts to slow down.”
It’s important, she notes again, not to reread what you’ve written. “It’s meant to be released, not ingested again,” she explains. “Burn or shred your pages to continue releasing your body, mind, and spirit of the energy you no longer need.”
After you’ve discarded your pages, there’s one final step, which Poiler says is more important than it probably sounds. Wash your hands and voila—a shiny aura awaits.
“Another wonderful way to cleanse the aura is to light sage or palo santo and waft the perfumed smoke around your body, circling your head and then outlining your silhouette and front body, back body, and under the feet,” Polier says. “If you’d rather not have smoke about, trace around your body with a selenite crystal instead, and this works beautifully as well.”
If you’re interested in diving deep on the former, here’s a full guide to smudging, according to a pro. If the latter is more your speed, a selenite lamp couldn’t hurt in terms of enabling some full-time aura maintenance—especially if you, like me, live in Los Angeles, where someone is always laying on their horn and flipping you off as your car breaks down in the middle of the freeway.
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