ATRK Gif

How Yoga Can Transform How We Think and Believe

The koshas guide us to develop awareness of all aspects of our lives.
How Yoga Can Transform How We Think and Believe

What is Koshas?

Which is more powerful, your physical body or your mind?  Which keeps you up at night more often, a sore muscle or swirling thoughts that cannot be shut off?  Would you like to find acceptance and peace of mind?  In yoga, we can appreciate ourselves in many layers.  The model we use to examine and keep ourselves healthy is the pancha maya model.  We consider the human system through five interconnected “sheaths” (pancha means five).  We then use the koshas as guideposts on our path leading to freedom from the relative reality of our material world. 

 

The koshas guide us to develop awareness of all aspects of our lives. As we become conscious, a process of spiritual transformation results.  This opens us to ever deeper realms of meaning, openness and freedom in our lives.

 

Think of the koshas as layers of being, much like the layers of an onion.  We start with the physical and work towards the more transcendental.  This week I invite you to focus on the 3rd and 4th kosha.  Here we go. 

 

Mental (manomaya kosha)our thoughts, beliefs, and emotions. This kosha relates to how we think, what we think about, what we believe, and how we experience and express our emotions.

 

Intuitive wisdom (vijnanamaya kosha)the witnessing awareness, the ability to observe ourselves and our lives with compassion and without judgment to consciously make more informed choices.

 

As we internalize and embody the koshas in our lives, we gain the clarity, contentment, and resilience needed to help us make needed changes, remain unchanged with full awareness of the consequences, or find acceptance and peace of mind if change is not possible.  Such work is merely one of many paths to wisdom and finding the “ever deeper realms of meaning, openness and freedom” mentioned above and referred to in the following lines from Eknath Easwaran’s translation of the Taittiriya Upanishad*:  

“The Self in man and in the sun are one.  

Those who understand this see through the world

And go beyond the various sheaths of being

To realize the unity of life.”

As a yoga therapist, I begin my work with an individual in the area where the client is most conscious of discomfort. In partnership, we then work to create a plan of care to empower the client to begin recovery, minimize the impact of symptoms, and ease suffering.

 

*The Upanishads were written in India during a time when people began to shift the focus of religious life from external rites and sacrifices to internal spiritual quests. Each of these 13 texts shares stories, ideas, instructions, and insights into the meaning of consciousness and self-awareness that are as relevant today as they were 3,000 years ago.

Koshas Graphical Representation

 

We can work with the panchamaya model to view THE KOSHAS as guideposts on our path leading to freedom from maya.  MAYA is the relative reality of our material world. 

 

The koshas guide us to develop awareness of all aspects of our lives. As we become conscious, a process of spiritual transformation results.  This opens us to ever deeper realms of meaning, openness and freedom in our lives.

 

The koshas, or layers of being, are:

• Physical (annamaya kosha)—our size, shape, gender identification, race and ethnicity, anatomy, and physiology, and even extending to our homes and the planet we all share.

• Energetic (pranamaya kosha)—oxygen nourishes and sustains life. Energy, or prana, is the animating force that enables us to think, create, move, love, work, and navigate all that life brings.

• Intuitive wisdom (vijnanamaya kosha)—the witnessing awareness, the ability to observe ourselves and our lives with compassion and without judgment to consciously make more informed choices.

• Bliss (anandamaya kosha)—our connection to something larger than ourselves. This can be spiritual or religious, or a deep connection to a healthy passion or to the natural world.

 

 



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