Luminous Connections of the Koshas – A Pathway to Health & Wellness

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. 

Is There One Right Way to Breathe in Yoga?

Let’s start first with an exploration of this question.  Since yesterday, you’ve probably taken twenty thousand inhales and twenty thousand exhales.  How present were you to any of those breaths?  Did you notice the natural rhythm of your inhale and exhale and the rise or fall of the belly or chest?  Or, hone in on an awareness of one being longer or shorter than the other?  Perhaps you sensed the texture, the length of the breath, or how the breath moved about your own being?  Or maybe your awareness was focused on where the breath began its journey and where it ended inside you?  If not, maybe you want to take a moment now and just be with your own breath. What you will discover is that we all have our own innate breathing pattern, some good, some not so good.

In our therapeutic practice, we aim to help clients learn that there is NO one way to breathe in yoga.  But, there are ways to breathe optimally to enhance our overall health.  Each breath we draw upon infuses our inner being with a lush gift of prana and learning how to honor that gift in how and where we move the breath are all equally important.  In our Breath with Movement sessions, we guide our clients to move their physical body to their own innate breathing, not group movement, but individual movement.  When we allow our body to be guided by the breath, we step into a beautiful flow, a meditative movement that fuels and energies us as well as dispels the body of no longer needed toxins, stress, and dis-ease.

And the way we breathe changes from moment to moment, and practice to practice.  Our trained therapeutic instructors guide you to flow your movement to your breath to enhance all systems of your body.  Using the concept of Langhana or Brahmana breathing, tied to mudras that support,  and yoga movement that awakens,  you will discover that there is no one way to breathe in yoga, but a rainbow of strategies to maintain optimal health.

Private therapy for the respiratory system is also available and guided by Nancy Levenson, PYT-1000.  She will work with you to improve conditions of Asthma, COPD, Anxiety and other taxing disorders to the respiratory system.

 

NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness, 5860 S. Curtice St., Littleton, CO 80120.  We are not a walk-in studio, we operate as a private center for our clients.  All classes require a RSVP. www.namasteworksyoga.com – A Place to Discover Yoga as a Healing Art.

Coolness in Every Breath – Kaki Pranayama

If you are finding the summer heat unbearable, you can always turn to a yogic pranayama to cool you from the inside out. Kaki Pranayama employs the use of forming a small beak with your lips, allowing the inhale to cool as it travels over the tongue, then seal the mouth and exhale out the nose.  Follow the practice below:

Coolness in Every Breath

Pranayama:  Kaki on the inhale

  • Sit/Lie and be with yourself
  • Eyes closed, body grounding
  • Soften the structure of what you call you
  • Let out all rigidity
  • And ask yourself am I breathing?
  • Invite in Kaki Pranayama on the inhale
  • Take a slow breath in through pursed lips
  • At the same time notice how the navel radiates outward toward the sky
  • Seal the mouth and exhale the breath
  • At the same time invite the navel to draw inwards to the spine
  • And stay with this breath
  • Imagine yourself as a small inflatable boat
  • Allow each inhale to draw the cool air slowly inside you
  • Each exhale, seal the mouth and feel your boat slowly moving
  • And as you breath, notice if your body needs something from you
  • As you inhale, feel the texture of the breath
  • As you exhale, hear the sound of the breath
  • Kaki beathing, drawing breath in and down
  • Sealed lips, nose releasing the breath
  • Noticing how Kaki helps you to lengthen your inhalation and begins to cool you
  • How the exhale continues to move your small boat
  • And noticing now, where is my mind?
  • What emotions/sensations am I feeling right now
  • And now imagine rowing a boat to a peaceful location, by slowly rolling the arms forward and back in rhythm to your breath
  • And invite the arms to mimic oars
  • With each pull of the oars feel yourself becoming more graceful
  • Your breathing slowing
  • And your strokes , longer and more open, allowing this cooling breath in for a minimum of five minutes

Kaki Pranayama is just one of the therapeutic yoga breathing strategies offered to our clients to improve overall respiratory health.   To learn more about pranayama or breath with movement, just contact us. NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness is a center focused on helping you Discover Yoga as a Healing Art.

Rainbow Breath Meditation for the Respiratory System

It’s no coincidence that medicine and meditation both come from the Latin “mederi” – to cure.  And while mediation has been used for thousands of years, today more people are embracing meditation tools primarily for health and wellness purposes. In the therapeutic realm of yoga, meditations are utilized to support this healing by creating customized approaches for client conditions.

In our recent offering of Therapeutic Yoga Teacher Training, one of the instructors wrote the following guided meditation to support the health of the respiratory system.  We share this meditation with you, in the hopes it will support your own wellness goals.

 Rainbow Breath Meditation for the Respiratory System by Renee Carrillo

Affirmation – My breath flows freely in and out of my lungs.

Bring awareness to the breath – use any breathing technique that is most comfortable to you.  Relax your head and neck; soften the shoulders, arms and hands.  Release the muscles in your back, abdomen, and buttocks. Let the legs be loose and allow the feet to drop outward or inward, whichever feels best.

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The 5 Pranavayus – Opening to Lightness and Joy – June 8

One Evening ONLY
Wednesday June 8, 2011
5:30-7:30 pm, $19 

Discover the exhilarating joy of mastering your internal winds (the breath/prana) to provide vitality to your body, breath and mind.  If you desire to enhance your overall respiratory, digestive and circulatory health, then join this evening workshop on the ancient yogic mastery of The 5 Pranavayus.  In this two hour experiential and informational evening you will discover that Prana is the radiance of life itself, the moving force behind sensation, the tool to dispel of impurities, and the source to bring balance back to the body. You will be given a map for this holistic journey. 

Taught by Nancy Levenson, yoga therapist of NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness.  5860 S. Curtice Street, Littleton.  RSVP required, no drops in, class limited to ten. To reserve a spot, send an email through the contact form or call 303.725.1434.