Find Your Inner Sancuary This Holiday Season
Link your inner and outer landscape with the ancient practice of yoga and experience true bliss.
Since the dawn of time, man has sought to go beyond the self to reach a higher state of consciousness and inner harmony. One common thread to achieving this state of "oneness" is to go within by a process of disciplining the mind and body. Once the mind and body are aligned, the spirit naturally engages and all parts of the self are unified. This concept is at the very core of basic human desire; every human being wants to find happiness, a state that is completely reached only when we are "whole." This very quest is something that exists within each of us. Our goal then becomes what dwells within.
For many, meditation is a tough practice to engage in with discipline. The mind races with a resounding chatter that's enough to send us reeling out of control. Moving meditations such as yoga practice is an excellent way to begin to peel back the layers that embed the "true self" or our highest expression. It is at this level where enlightenment, bliss, harmony and peace exists. So how to we get there?
Yoga is an ancient science of health for the physical body and balance for the mind that provides a foundation to self knowledge. It is a distinctive and individual journey to unveiling the true self. In Sanskrit, yoga literally means "yoking" or union with mind and body. The meditative movements explore the stillness within motion, strength within ease, and wisdom within action. The combination of breath and movement uncovers the layers of the true self.
Peeling Back the Koshas to Find Peace
The koshas are the many facets or layers of a human being. The ancient spiritual practice of Vedanta, uses the koshas to uncover the divine self. Practicing different yoga postures (asanas) helps to create a balance in each of the five layers (koshas) and leads to self knowledge. The layers work from the outer most level (Annamayakosha) to the inner most layer (Anandamyakosha) and represent different areas of the human body.
- Annamayakosha - This layer represents the physical body and the five elements defined in Ayurvedic medicine (earth, water, fire, air, and space). Different yoga postures directly balance this level of the body.
- Pranamyakosha - This is the energy body and includes the subtle energy vortexes or wheels known as the chakras and the Prana Vayus or main energy currents of the body. It is the breath, how we take it in and how well it nourishes the organ systems. When prana is blocked or stagnant, disease can occur. Yoga postures open up the energy body and restores balance.
- Manomayakosha - This layer represents our emotional responses. It includes the fight or flight response, survival, reproduction, social roles and personality. This kosha relates to our psycho-emotional health. The Manomayakosha is easily thrown out of balance by stress and can result in physical and mental illness. Yoga practice is an excellent way to de-stress and relax the body and mind bringing this kosha back into alignment.
- Vjnyanamayakosha - This layer corresponds to our wisdom, intuition and insight. Becoming a witness to how we live and doing away with patterns that are physically or emotionally destructive is necessary for the development of our higher self. Yoga postures help to calm the mind and is essential for the wisdom body.
- Anandamayakosha - This is the true self or bliss body. The nature of this self is inner directness, stillness and contentment. This level is experienced momentarily but it gives us a clearer understanding of our true nature. All yoga practice is a catalyst for this level of awareness.
The inner and outer landscape of the physical and emotional body are directly linked . By aligning these layers through the practice of moving meditations such as yoga, we begin to peel back and eradicate the painful parts of our life and embrace a higher vibration of living. When we connect with our true self life becomes easier and a certain sense of familiarity takes hold.