Before I get started I LOVE a hardcore workout. The kind you are so sweaty and tired that you have no time to think about the noise in your head. However, yoga is holistic and has so many other sides to discover.
Yoga texts talk about the “kosha” model. These are the layers of a person. It is a very interesting way to break up a person and look at where there might be imbalances to address. The beautiful thing about yoga is that there are tools for each of these layers.
The first layer is the physical and as many already know the physical practices within yoga address any imbalances in the physical body. Yoga encourages a balance of strength and flexibility and practiced mindfully yoga encourages us to tune into the physical body. We begin to learn muscle isolation and find, and hopefully correct any postural misalignments caused by day to day living. Practiced mindfully we can tune into muscles that are “stuck on” and encourage the release of physical tension.
The second layer is the energetic layer. This is most easily observed by watching our breath. We begin to manipulate our breath and observe the effects this has. As we become more practiced we are able to tune into the more subtle energy movement on our physical form. Finding the sound of our own heartbeat and then tuning into how our heart moves blood (energy) throughout our body. We can also observe how vibrational sounds effect this layer of our body.
The third layer is our thinking mind. There is a common misconception that meditation is about emptying the mind. However the mind is a constantly firing neuronetwork. Meditation is like exercise for the brain. With practice we find ways to observe our thoughts and rather than emptying our mind we practice stepping out of the stream of thought. We can find a place where our thoughts can bother us less. We become conscious observers and practice seeing our thoughts as just thoughts. Practicing judging our thoughts less and allowing then to just pass through.
The fourth layer is your intuition layer. That little voice inside you that just knows. We practice tuning into this layer by clearing the noise of the thinking mind and distractions of the physical body. Yoga helps us find faith in our intuition and learn to honor this little spark within us. Yoga can help us find our purpose in this lifetime, showing us that each of us has something to contribute to the bigger picture. Tuning inward and listening to the intuitive mind can help us find the inner peace that comes from living in line with our truth. When we can mindfully choose thoughts, deeds and actions that are in line with our truth, with our intuitive self, our life becomes more fulfilling and less susceptible to the inevitable turbulence of life.
The final layer is the bliss layer. The wonderful thing about yoga is that it has no set religion or spiritual belief. It allows space for whatever your spiritual or religious beliefs are. Even if you have no set religious beliefs system you have experienced this bliss layer. Maybe in a beautiful sunset that took your breath away, a baby’s giggle that you couldn’t help but laugh along with, or getting lost in the eyes of a loving puppy. Yoga helps clear out the clutter in all of the other layers so that you can more readily tap into this connection of something greater than yourself. Yoga can help deepen your spiritual connection and your connection to your true self within.
There are so many tools for helping a person clear imbalances on all their layers. Meditation, chanting, sound and music (which in itself can be a meditative practice), physical fitness – strength and flexibility, physical restoration – releasing tension in the physical body, community and connection, practices of service and so much more. Join us to try a “whole person” approach. Find the ingredients that work for your recipe for optimal wellness.