The Kosha model is an ancient model of health that has been the foundation stone for most of those which exist today.
What are the Koshas and why are they important for your health picture?
‘Kosha’ is a word for ‘layer’ or ‘sheath’. It refers to the different aspects of our humanness, as well as the understanding that to create health in all of them is synonymous with absolute radiant and successful living! I was a physical education teacher in my younger days and was really interested in keeping fit. Yoga took my understanding to a whole new level. Fitness is not just a process of toning, stretching and strengthening muscles, it also requires your energy levels, emotions, intellect and inner peace to be 'fit'. It was a fantastic revelation!
The 5 Koshas:
- Annamaya Kosha - the physical layer. This includes how our body moves, what we eat, posture and our relationship with the physical world around us.
- Pranamaya Kosha – this includes the air we breath and the life-force that is sustaining us. It is found in food and sunlight, but is primarily drawn from the air we breathe.
- Manomaya Kosha – this relates to how we feel at any moment. Are we cold, hot, sad, happy, fearful, angry, lonely?
- Vijgnamaya Kosha - Can we harness the way we direct our thoughts? Can we choose the thoughts we have from moment to moment? This layer helps us to be in control of our destiny by co-piloting the way we think and the choices we make.
- Anandamaya Kosha – my favourite – the spiritual layer. This is the part of us that has had, for most people, the least training! There are 1440 minutes in a day. We can 'tone' this layer by spending some of those minutes in quiet stillness and by listening to and wondering at life in all its diversity!
So my plan today is to remind you to be aware that you are more than just a body. You exist on so many more layers and all of them require a little of your love and attention if you really want to be firm of vision, happy, healthy and at peace with yourself.
Spend the next 5 days becoming sequentially aware of each of the above areas. You do not need to do anything in particular - just be AWARE. Make no judgement, expect to make no changes; just be aware.
- Day 1: Be aware of your physical situation, your posture, health status, the immediate environment and what you eat.
- Day 2: Be aware of your breathing process. How often are you aware that you are breathing? Is it a deep breath? What happens when you are worried? What happens when you are relaxed? How many breaths do you take in a minute? Compare your rate with others!
- Day 3: Be aware of how you are feeling. No need to judge it, simply observe. What emotions do you go through in a day? How do you feel about yourself; the people around you? What happens to your body when you have strong emotions?
- Day 4: What are you thinking now? How are your thoughts? How do you manage choices? What dialogue is going on in your head? What are your plans for today? Do you have a plan? No judgement, simply observe.
- Day 5: Do you have a practice that helps keep you still? Do you go for a walk, connect with nature? Do you feel calm and peaceful? No judgment, simply ask the question and see what unfolds.