Yoga and Spiritual Wellness through the Lens of the Five Koshas
By Dr. Lyn Litchke, CTRS, LVCYT, 200 IYT
The Koshas are like layers of an onion and you are the onion. As you practice yoga, you peel away layer by layer to discover the core of your being. Your true spiritual essence. Your life’s purpose. Your connectedness to self, others, the universe, and God of your understanding. And here I thought yoga was just about getting my body into the perfect pose. Hmmm...
Koshas address the full spectrum of the human being: Mind, body and spirit as one. If you are anything like me, I spend most of my yoga practice in the outer 2 layers posing and breathing. It was not till I found the Kosha concept that I began to explore going deeper into the spiritual aspect of my yoga practice.
The five layers of the Koshas, from outermost to innermost, take you on a layered journey towards spiritual wellness:
Layer 1: “Annamayakosha” or Physical body- starting point of yoga- asanas/poses/diet; check out Ayurveda to find your Dosha and nourish your body, mind, and spirit; perform standing and balance poses. Attend one of our Yoga classes to experience.
Layer 2: “Pranamayakosha” or Energy body- breath, life forces, chakras (7), nadis (energy channels); do prone backbends such as Cobra or Locust pose; engage in breath work such as Lions breath, Lymphatic, and three-part breathing. Got a craving? Plug your right nostril and breath through the left one for 3 minutes. Craving gone! Attend one of our Yoga classes to experience.
Layer 3:” Manomayakosha” or Emotional body- habits/behaviors, and thought process; move into supine back bends such as bridge or advanced poses like wheel. Add hip openers: Hero, Pigeon, or Cow Face. Try Restorative Yoga. It is the greatest emotional release of all the yoga practices. Attend one of our Yoga classes to experience.
Layer 4: “Vijnayanamaykosha” or Wisdom body- intelligence, compassion, witness/consciousness of self; transition to inversions such as half shoulder stand, or modified chair/block head stand, or fish pose. This shifts focus to the third eye to deepen awareness of the witness aspect. The most superior of all yoga poses is “Legs up the Wall”/or on a Chair (AKA Happy Hour Pose). If you do nothing else in yoga at all, try this for 1-15 minutes a day and it will change how you see and live your life. Plus, it gives you a natural high produced without alcohol. It’s addictive and free. No hangover ever again!
Layer 5: “Anandanmayakosha” or Bliss body- being one with spirit, true identity, peace, joy, freedom, connectedness, life’s purpose; OR Spiritual Wellness. Try Yoga Nidra and/or meditation. Yoga Nidra means “sleep” or “Full of God.” It is a form of self-hypnosis/relaxation/breathing. Having difficulty going to sleep? Practice Yoga Nidra. It will create a quiet space in your mind and take you to the state of your tipping point right before you drop in to sleep. ZZZZZZZZ...
Time to drop in to one of our yoga classes and let Total Wellness help you become MORE spiritually fit. We offer a variety of yoga, meditation, and mindfulness programs to help you get there.
Namaste, Dr. Lyn