The Five Koshas
A new year. A new decade. It’s not that the day is different, or something is magical about 2020 more that we have an awareness. My life was no different on 1/1/2020 than it was on 12/31/2019. However, the new year and the new decade helps me reset and be aware. The reality is that I can start over every day. I have the beautiful opportunity to start each day fresh and choose a path that allows me to love, to be patient, to forgive, to let go and to choose kindness to those around me.
I am grateful for this reminder of the new and the choices I can make to bring myself into health and wholeness. I can choose to slow down. I can choose to sit in silence. I can choose to forgive. I can choose to let go. The opposite is true. I can choose to be angry, hold grudges or live in chaos. It took me a long time to see that stress or hurt in my life wasn’t an external force that I couldn’t control. Trust me I have felt out of control, on edge and stressed out many times in my life. I have also discovered a freedom that I have power in these situations. I can make choices for my own health and wellness to foster healing and wholeness despite my circumstance.
The 2nd yoga sutra (in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras) describes the purpose of the yoga practice, saying “Yogas chitta vritti nirodhah”, which means “Yoga is stilling the fluctuations of the mind.” For me in my practice, the use of asana and breath which are very much me being in my physical body help me to quiet my mind and spirit.
In yoga we have the Pancha Maya Koshas model also known as The Five Koshas:
- Annamaya kosha — the food sheath (the physical body)
- Pranamaya kosha — the breath sheath (the energy body)
- Manomaya kosha — the mind sheath (the emotional body)
- Vijnanamaya kosha — the intellect sheath (the wisdom body)
- Anandamaya kosha — the bliss sheath (the bliss body)
So often we separate these bodies and identify with only one layer. We perceive ourselves as just physical. We can also be focused on just our thoughts or emotions. We can suffer when our body is in pain or when we are in emotional destress. What if we could see ourselves in all these bodies? What if they were working with each other to create harmony and when one was out of sync, we worked through another path to help support areas that were struggling. Can we see deeper layers into ourselves and how we interact with the world around us? Can you appreciate the various aspects of how you were created?
I am thankful for this new year and new decade to appreciate that I can start fresh each day, each hour, each moment. I can be thankful for all the layers of myself that I can use as a recourse to start fresh. When I can be stressed and my mind is spinning and my emotions are volatile (Vijnanamaya and Manomaya), I can sit down and use my breath (Pranamaya) to calm the fluctuations of the mind. It’s the only autonomic system we can take control of in and it gives us access to physically lower our blood pressure and our heart rate.
During this new year and you become more aware of your options or choices? Can you notice the various aspects of yourselves and how you can empower those areas to health and wellness?
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