by Joseph Glaser
From a Yogic perspective our beings are made up of five sheaths or koshas. From gross to subtle we have annamaya kosha or your physical body and all its components. Second is pranamaya kosha or your biodynamic network of prana itself, chakras, and nadis that allow the other koshas to function. Third, we have manomaya kosha or your mind, intellect, thoughts, and emotions. Fourth, vijnanamaya kosha or your intuition and premonition. Finally, we have anandamaya kosha or your bliss.
Fun fact: an aspect of our beings is pure unconditional bliss. That’s pretty awesome!
As many of you know I work with people living with illness and disease and help them to create sustainable practices to help manage their symptoms and speed up the healing process. From a Yogic perspective disease can manifest in any kosha. If it manifests in one kosha it doesn’t necessarily mean that it was caused there. All the koshas are connected and are reliant on each other, just like the systems in our bodies, so if one has a problem it could manifest there or anywhere.
The good news is that Yoga has techniques and practices that help create systemic health in balance throughout all five koshas. In yoga this is the definition of health. So if we utilize Yoga only as exercise we miss out on many of its benefits. I want to encourage us all to bring any imbalances that we are experiencing to our practice and use our practice to remove them from our system. I want us to expect more from our practice.
If you have arthritis Yoga can help with that. If prana is not flowing freely through your system, which could be the cause of that arthritis, Yoga can help with that. If you have low self-esteem and a negative outlook on life Yoga can help with that. If you have trouble knowing what you want to do with your life Yoga can help with that. If you’ve never experienced spontaneous unconditional bliss Yoga can help with that too.
Whatever you’ve got Yoga can help with that. Certain techniques are more specific than others when working with particular koshas but even in a general studio Yoga class that is focused on asana you can go deep into the healing process. Do the poses without strain or force. Breathe at a slow and steady pace and move only with your breath. Visualize yourself in the poses embodying them with ease. Now you have added some powerful techniques to your asana practice that will help tremendously in our quest for balance.
If you have the opportunity to work with an experienced teacher one on one or take a teacher training program you will have move opportunity to learn even more specific techniques. If this is not an option currently then do not worry. You can bring concentration and pranayama to your asana for great effect. Yoga is known for its breadth. Try to take advantage of that and let it help you in every way. Let Yoga allow your truest self to shine through and share that gift with the world.
Om Namah Shivaya,