The Body is a magnificent, miraculous, amazing vehicle that carries the equally awesome mind and spirit. (hows that to start off the body lovin?) In The Happiness Prescription, Deepak Chopra gives an amazing explanation of how the brain and central nervous system send a constant flow of messages creating the feedback loop or communication channel . One side of the brains feedback loop responds automatically and the other responds to the experiences and perceptions we impose on ourselves. This sends corresponding chemicals back and forth between the brain and the body. If the mind is happy or sad it has a direct effect on the body and vice versa. This is why its so important to our well being, health and happiness that we are selective and mindful of the messages we are sending into the feedback loop.
Many of us lead such busy lives that we neglect or pay very little attention to the messages we send our body and also what our body is trying to tell us. (guilty) We may even intentionally or not let damaging or negative perceptions or experiences that we have collected send negative feedback ( we all have good days and bad) and in turn we might store unexpressed fears and emotions in the body. But in the name of happiness and well being this weeks yoga practice will focus on reconnecting with and finding balance, learning to listen, trust and feed the body with love. Go on! Love yourself today! (I thought I might sneak a bit of yogic philosophy in with this theme as well.)
Yogic Body. (The Five Koshas)
According to ancient yogic sages the body consists of five sheaths or layers. The Anamaya ( physical or food sheath), the Pranamaya ( the breath sheath), the Manomaya (the mental sheath), the Vijanamaya (the wisdom sheath) and the Anandamaya (the bliss body) This may seem far out or very essoteric…and your wondering how is this related to cultivating my happiness and well being?
Simple as…its a practical and CONTEMPLATIVE tool to help deepen the yoga practice and enrich our life. When we cultivate greater self awareness physically and mentally in yoga it teaches us to be mindful. Instead of going through the motions on auto pilot being mindful will help us tune into our body and mind discovering what it is we truly need to be healthy, happy and to make better choices that can effect the well being in all areas of our life.
The first three Koshas :Anamaya, Pranamaya, and Manomaya are the biggest focus of our yoga practice and the last two koshas are effected as a result of this practice. In fact each Kosha has an effect on the other because the bodies or layers are not completely separate. We work to balance the the Koshas each one making the space for the next until we finally reach the last. Bliss Body.
According to my husband I haven’t quite grasped the concept of blogging. Apparently the idea is to keep it short and interesting. Unfortunately its not in my genetic makeup to keep things short and sweet. (thanks mom and dad). I tend to take the scenic route in my stories and explanations:) Originally I was going to cover all five Koshas but I can agree that it might be a lot of information to digest. So I decided to cover the first Kosha followed by my Banana Bliss ice cream recipe and we can digest that to start! mmmmm.
The first is Anamaya Kosha. The Physical or Food Sheath: It is the tangible physical body, Bones, muscles,skin, tissue, blood, organs. It is the Kosha we focus on when we first start the practice of yoga. By observing and focussing on alignment, muscle engagement, space between the bones, which parts are lifting which parts are grounding we bring ourselves into the present moment and deeper physical awareness.
How to explore this in yoga practice: Take the time to notice all these parts working together. Awaken all the feelings and sensations from the arches in the feet to the space in between your eyebrows in each posture with a slow body scan. Pay attention to what the body is saying in messages of comfort or discomfort in each posture. Learn about where you are physically and mentally be honest with yourself and accept it. Work on yourself from here. Just because you are here now doesn’t mean its where we will always be. Try sending positive encouragement to all your parts weak or strong.
Living yoga: Try awakening the senses and do everyday things with more mindfulness, care and wonder. Take a silent walk focusing on the mechanics of the body, sound of the footsteps, smell of nature. Eat a favourite delicious meal without chat or distraction savour each mouthful as you chew. ( notice the reaction of delight in your body!) After bathing rub oil on to all your lovely parts marvelling at the amazing jobs they do for you each day. When the first Kosha is balanced you have more ease and freedom to practice the second Kosha.
Stay tuned for the Pranamaya Kosha…..