Here are some ways to enhance your yoga practice and make it even more potent.
In Dru Yoga we often talk about the koshas, or layers of the body (physical, energy, emotional, mental and bliss). In this video, I describe the different layers of the koshas and how you can use them to deepen your yoga experience.
Five layers of the koshas
Annamaya kosha - the physical layer
Pranamaya kosha - the breath and energy layer
Manomaya kosha - the emotional and mental layer
Vijnanamaya kosha - the intellectual and higher thinking layer
Anandamaya kosha - the spiritual, bliss or ‘centre of peace’ layer
Let us explore the manomaya kosha
The third layer, or manomaya kosha, is crucial in helping us to stay happy and emotionally balanced. 'Manas' means mind and particularly the aspect of the mind, which relates to how we feel and how we pick up data from the external world through our senses. Manomaya kosha is the instinctive/intellectual sheath of ordinary thought, desire and emotion. It is also known as part of the subtle body or Suksma sharira.
At times we may feel overwhelmed by our emotions and we get caught up the mind’s constant chatter. During your yoga practice, your mind will come up with all sorts of thoughts and emotions, because we are focussing on our ability to do the posture or maybe we find it difficult to balance - the mind has a field day! It will also judge the alignment and ability of other people, the teacher or even the style of teaching. Getting caught up the mind’s constant chatter is a sure route to frustration or unhappiness - but it is all part of the process! When we befriend our mind and lift our emotional state we can use our yoga to develop some of the higher functions of the manomaya kosha so that we can move into the inner, more subtle layers easily.
The manomaya kosha is also equated with our level of emotional maturity and also our ‘emotional intelligence’. When it comes to our happiness and success it's well acknowledged that our emotional intelligence (EQ) is just as important as our intellectual ability (IQ). Emotional intelligence helps us to build stronger relationships, to succeed at work and achieve our career and personal goals.
How to strengthen manomaya kosha
- Focus your mind during your practice by deepening the level of concentration involved - balancing postures are great for this!
- Rest your awareness on your breath whilst in your yoga postures - this helps to focus your thoughts.
- Notice how you feel before, during and after your yoga. Stopping between each movement heightens your awareness of the present moment.