Saucha: The Basics of Energy Healing, Cleansing and Clearing

By: Steph Ball-Mitchell, E-RYT-500, RPYT, RCYT, YACEP, CAADC

energy healing

Energy healing has become a hot topic in the Western world in recent years.  There is a rise in the number of people who want to learn more about energy cleansing and energy clearing, which are part of our yoga practice.  Saucha, or purity, is a yogic concept that yoga practitioners honor as part of the 8-limb path.  

Many people don't quite understand what energy is or what we are referring to when we talk about energy healing.  Energy healing is about cleaning yourself and your aura.  Your aura is the energy field that encompasses you and it takes on emotions, health, thoughts, desires, fears and circumstances that surround you. When you're around others, their energy field and your energy field exchange and your aura can expand to add on their energies. This is why energy cleansing is an important practice that supports a healthy aura.

How do we cleanse our energy?

There are many ways to clean your energy and also your physical spaces.  We can clear our energetic aura and our environment with sacred smoke cleansers, crystals, and sacred sound instruments.  

Guide to Smoke Cleansers for Energy Healing ("How Do I Sage?")

I can't tell you how often I'm asked, "how do I sage?"  In recent years, using smoke cleansers such as sage sticks to clean spaces and energetic auras has become increasingly popular.  This is an ancient practice and was commonly practiced in Native American cultures and other cultures.  It's important to understand the practice and its spiritual nature so that we are honoring and not appropriating its roots. 

Whenever you are cleansing your spaces, you want to move in a clockwise motion around the room.  It is important to begin at the entrance of your space, such as the front door.  Be sure to get the consecrated smoke reaches the corners of every room.  Important areas in the home to remember are both under and over the bed and mirrors.  Mirrors hold a lot of energy and are often forgotten during smudge cleaning rituals.  Windows and doors should be open during smoke cleansing to let the cleansed energy escape.  

Most Common Smudge Sticks (Smoke Cleanser Options):

White Sage

White Sage is often used for energy healing and clearing.

White sage (Salvia apiana) is also known as Bee Sage, California Sage and Sacred Sage and is a cleansing plant.  It grows in bushy clumps in the American Southwest.  Native Americans have gathered and burned the plant for thousands of years.  It is especially associated with the Chumash.  In many Native cultures, it is considered a sacred plant, a source of medicine, food and the benevolent Spirit.

It is probably the plant most used in smudging practices.  It removes energy and creates a clean slate.  It is sometimes referred to as  “spiritual bleach” because it purifies whatever energy is present.  It cleanses all the energy from any space or person.  For this reason, it should be followed with another incense or affirmations to replace the removed energy.  

In the same way that antibiotics remove both good and bad bacteria leaving the immune system exposed, white sage removes both positive and negative energy leaving a neutral and empty energy.  That’s why it’s always important to fill that empty energy with something positive, uplifting or healing after smudging with white sage.  There are many words to describe white sage, but if I had to choose only one it would be “purifying.”  


Cedar Sage (Calocedrus decurrens) is also known as California Incense.  

The cedar tree is ancient and sacred.  It has been here as long as we’ve had records of trees.  It’s scent is fresh and woodsy.  It brings to mind the smell of a forest and it has properties of protection and wisdom.  People use the wood chips of the Cedar tree and the leaves for smudge sticks, and they are equally as effective.

Cedar smudge sticks are used medicinally for protection.  Cedar can also be used to purify a space.  Cedar makes me think of renewal in a lot of ways and can be used to make a space feel new again. A lot of times cedar smudge sticks are used for new homes and move-ins because they repel unwanted spirits and bring significant protection from bad influences to people, places and things.

Cedar is one of the strongest smoke cleansers available for purification purposes.  Cedar really pushes out negativity and restores energetic balance.  It attracts positive influences and fills spaces with harmony.  It’s helpful for setting new intentions.  

When I helped a friend of mine move into a new apartment, we consecrated the space with a Cedar smudge stick.  It is just as purifying as white sage, so we were able to remove any negative energy.  It repels bad influences and attracts positive influences, so it was perfect for a new home.  It filled the brand new apartment with joy and harmony and helped my friend to set special intentions for the new space.  It’s protective powers helped to create feelings of safety while calling in what is positive. 

Palo Santo

Palo Santo is a tree that grows in South America and some parts of Central America.  Palo Santo is a citrus tree and is related to frankincense and myrrh.   The smell reminds me of pine and mint with a hint of citrus.   I find the smell of Palo Santo to be fresh and uplifting.  When I’m teaching guided meditations, I often light Palo Santo ahead of time to help students clear their minds and release stress and tension so that they are prepared for practice.  

Palo Santo is often used for healing and is highly medicinal.  It blesses and consecrates more so than cleanses.  Palo Santo brings positive energy into the space and offers clarity and creativity to those who take it in.  It has uplifting and protective principles and brings the user closer to the Divine. 

Medicinal purposes of Palo Santo can include healing from headaches, colds and inflammation.  It is also used for healing from emotional trauma, depression and chronic stress. 

I normally burn Palo Santo after white sage.  The white sage cleanses and removes negative energy, and I follow that up with Palo Santo to bring clarity, creativity, love, healing and protection.  When I am cleaning my space, the very last thing I do is light my Palo Santo.  For me, it feels like I’m sealing my space with all of these positive attributes and protecting the energy that I’ve cleansed.  

Palo Santo can also be used as an insect repellant.  When we are sitting outside in the Summer, I often light Palo Santo to keep mosquitos and other bugs away.  It works better for me than other insect repellants.  I sometimes use Palo Santo oil and put it in a spray bottle with a bit of water to spray my skin in Summer months also and this works well to keep the critters at bay.

Guide to Crystals for Energy Healing

Crystals have also been recognized in ancient cultures for their healing properties. Many people use crystals in their daily lives to protect, cleanse and balance their energetic auras. Crystals can be worn as jewelry, often times in bracelets, necklaces, rings or earrings. Sometimes people sleep with crystals underneath their pillow so they can soak up the benefits of the crystal overnight. We also often see crystals used during yoga and meditation. They may be at the tip of a yoga mat during a flow, or you may find them in the hands of practitioners as they meditate. They can also sit in physical spaces for effective energy healing. 

Common Crystals Used in Energy Healing:


Aventurine is a style of quartz. It is most commonly green but can also be shades of blue, red, orange, grey and brown.  Aventurine brings prosperity and confidence.

Black tourmaline

Black tourmaline is used for protection.  It's often thought of as soaking up negative blocks.

Rose Quartz

Rose Quartz is a clear, pink stone that fosters love.  It increases self-love and also improves relationships with others.

Smoky Quartz

Smoky quartz is a dark, smoky stone that is known for its grounding elements.  It is great for those times when you feel unsteady.


Carnelian crystals are great for emotional support.  They are also healing for the feminine body systems.

Clear Quartz

Clear quartz is known as a mega healer.  It removes all negative energy and amplifies energy, thoughts and vibrations of other crystals.

Sacred Sound Instrument for Energy Healing

You can also turn to sacred sound instruments for energy healing.  Crystal singing bowls, Tibetan singing bowls and Himalayan bowls are commonly used in energy healing.  Gongs and Koshi Chimes are also common sacred sound instruments that we find energy healers working with.  Tingsha Cymbals can also be quite divine.  Often times, sacred sound instruments are used for sound bath meditations which can be quite soothing and can really change the energy of the space and the people in it.

Join Us In Yoga Teacher Training or a Continuing Education Course

If you're interested in learning more about energy cleansing, we'd love to have you join us in our upcoming Energy Clearing Continuing Education Course.  You can also learn all about the chakras and the energetic body in our 200 hour yoga teacher training online.