February 16, 2013
Yoga invites us to pay attention to the many luminous connections that exist within the five dimensions of our being; body, breath, mind, spirit and bliss. These five dimensions are known in yoga as the Five Koshas or sheath bodies; Annamaya Kosha, Pranamaya Kosha, Manomaya Kosha, Vijnanamaya Kosha and the Anandamaya Kosha. It’s through this exploration of Koshas, that we experience the true holistic power of yoga and healing.
From the moment we step onto the mat, we given an opportunity to notice the luminous connections of our self to the space and others around us. Our journey begins with Annamaya Kosha, the physical body. The Annamaya Kosha is comprised of all our physical systems; skeletal, circulatory, nervous, respiratory, endocrine, digestive, etc. and incorporates the Ayurvedic constitutions of our body. It is also the “seen” body and gives us our physical qualities. In the west, it is our most familiar sheath, the one that initially encouraged each of us to step into yoga. But yoga is beyond just the physical fitness aspect that many of us first explore. It’s a pathway toward wellness and wholeness.
Take a moment now to sense the space below you, the foundation that supports you and then bring awareness to the space above you. Find yourself rooted and anchored in the center of these two planes. Notice how the body is suspended or held in this space. Then, begin to pay attention to the beautiful connection between the base of the spine and the top of your skull, the perineum and the heart, the heart and the throat, the throat and the forehead and the forehead and crown of the head . Allow each of these centers to offer you an opportunity to drop into body awareness, to sense and feel from within the relationship of these connections. This inner awareness invites us to explore our body and become more in-tune with each sensation and feeling. Notice if you sense yourself floating towards the space above you, or sinking into the space below you. Can you sense if your body has a beginning point, or perhaps and end point, or do no points exist at all? Begin to sense if the body feels heavy and weighted or light and airy, strong or weak, flexible or stiff, comfortable in the space it occupies or seeking relief and movement into another position.
Body awareness is one method to explore your Annamaya/physical body. Other strategies include yoga asana, postures, healthy diet, somatic movement, rest, and relaxation. Through this awareness we awaken the physical body in preparation to receive the other dimensions of our being. Ultimately we seek to bring all Five Koshas into balance. To learn more about integration of your Five Koshas to achieve optimal wellness, consider private yoga therapy, where you will Discover Yoga as a Healing Art, not just fitness. Move, Breathe, Think, Seek and Enjoy a better space in your life.
NamasteWorks Yoga and Wellness is located in a private in-home studio, in Highlands Ranch, CO 80129. 303.725.1434. We are not a walk-in studio, rather a private space – A Place to Discover Yoga as a Healing Art. Visit us at www.namasteworksyoga.com. Nancy Levenson is a 1000 HR Integrative Yoga Therapy Therapist, and certified Ayuryoga and Restorative Yoga Instructor.