The koshas as map to balance yourself
In his book Prana and Pranayama, Swami Niranjananda Saraswati, writes: One who identifies with anandamaya kosha is a yogi. He has evolved to the spiritual realm, where all the experiences are spiritual experiences’.
Let’s try to understand this Swami. He writes: “However blockages in other koshas still exist despite the focus of consciousness in a particular kosha. For this reason, an integral path of yoga is advised. The time spend on each limb of yoga (this is a reference to the eight-folded path) will vary from individual to individual, depending on the kind of blockages and the level of the evolution one has attained. Therefore, expert guidance is essential to ascertain the correct practice for each kosha, which will turn influence to other koshas.”
Yes. I understand 🙂 Example: As I write blogs about yoga; my mental body manomaya kosha, works a lot. To balance the koshas I love to work my body, doing asana practise (annamaya kosha). When I do my practise I move together with my breath; in this process new life force is activated (pranamaya kosha). Asana practise is for me a form of moving meditation. In this process sooner or later, inner visions, smells, sounds and sights give me new insights which I can apply in my writing (vijanamaya kosha). Whenever vijnandamya kosha is cleared, creativity becomes inspired and clarity comes intuitively and effortlessly. At this stage the mind is actually and truly being emptied and prepared to experience the Self –(annandamaya kosha).
How to balance yourself?
For me the koshas are a great map to analyse what I need to balance myself. Therefore it’s important to work on all of them in order to stay healthy and live a balanced life.
Yes! This is the theory 😉 Now…. practice! Whenever I feel in disbalance (frustration, agitated, unsatisfied) and I feel something is not really working out (physically, mentally, energetically, emotionally, spiritually the koshas can be a helpful map for me to exam what I need.
When my mind is full of ideas but I can’t structure them; I love to take a moment to observe my breath and feel 🙂 Usually afterwards the solution comes up naturally.
-Do I want to have a good chat with a friend? Or..
-Maybe it helps to clear up the vrittis (fluctuations in mind) by writing down the issues that are in my mind? Or…
-Maybe I can calm down my thought by painting them on a canvas? Or….
-Maybe I want to dance and work my body? Or…
-Maybe I need to concentrate on my breath and observe every part of my body in a meditation? Or…
Then….I just do what I feel I have to do and do this!
Anything I decide on that moment is all right. Why? Because life is all about living in the moment! So whatever I decide what is good for me to do on that moment will do me well. There’s only one condition in this: doing it fully. Not half way. Being in an active state, full power – full intention helps to be fully connected.
“Sometimes simply by sitting, the soul collects wisdom” – Zen proverb
Usually, when you feel tense or strained, breath can become shallow. Also your mind can become easily agitated. Wisdom and joy seem far away in such a situation. Instead, when you are filled with joy and communion with life, these feelings permeate your entire being.
Lots of people tell me they actually want to meditate but they find it so difficult to do. Maybe you recognize this ‘problem’? Look. Maybe this makes it a little easier?
Exercise: 4 steps to make meditation easier
//Step 1: Make it fun and easy. Meditation should feel good for you, not boring or painful. Work out the thing about meditation that makes it really useful for you. Not ‘ I should meditate because…..’ but ‘I want to meditate’. What really helped for me to start meditating and doing my yoga asana practice was a quote of one of my teachers. She said. Just imagine you have a date with your lover. You want to see your lover, don’t you? So make time for yourself! J
//Step 2: Create you own sacred space in your house where you want to meditate. Create this space with a candle, a flowers, a stone; anything what is important for you and helps you to find rest.
//Step 3: Find a comfortable posture. If you like to sit cross legged in lotus with a straight back and poised mudra fingers. Do it. If you want to take another position (laying down, sitting down in an arm chair) that’s also fine. Remind: meditation is not an exercise in feeling uncomfortable. It’s a place of rest, stillness and comfort. So get comfy. 🙂
//Step 4: Start small; just observe ten breaths. This is a little way of moving around resistance. You will see. If you feel refreshed enough and your mind is clearer, you can stop. See what happens, if you want to ‘pump up the breathing volume’ because it feels good, you can keep going with another ten or twenty and maybe gradually you are able to observe a hundred breaths.
Prana and pranayama, Swami Niranjananda Saraswati, Yoga Publications Trust, Munger, Bihar, India
Four chapters on freedom, Swami Satyananada saraswati, Yoga publications Trust, Munger, Bihar India
Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Swami Muktbodhananda, Yoga publications Trust Munger, Bihar, India
Picture: painting by Sophie Nusselder