Subtle Body Hygiene Practices

Wow…it’s almost the end of 2017! It is amazing how fast this year has gone for me. 

How about you? How are you feeling as we approach the festive season? Have you had enough time for rest and reflection this year? Or are you feeling the drag of not enough down time and too much busy? 

It is so very important for our well-being to create time in our lives for slowness and quiet. 

Life around us is invariably becoming busier, louder, faster and this current has such a pull in our society that it can be an effort to not be swept up in the fast lane. When we create quietude within our lives we invite our intuition to be more audible. This is a good thing! 
Both Ayurveda and Yoga teach us that we have 5 levels to our being. These are described as sheaths or Koshas.   
Starting with the most tangilbe is our physical body the Anna Maya Kosha. This body is nourished by food (called anna in Sanskrit).   

Then there is the Prana Maya Kosha which is our lifeforce body. This subtle energy is in every cell of us and gives us life! It also extends some distance outside our body as our aura.  

Next there is the Mano Maya Kosha. This is our mind. Our capacity for thinking in an outwardly engaging way.  It is our rational mind.   
More subtle again than the mind is our Vjnana Maya Kosha. This is our intuitive mind, the subtle knowing that we can tap into when we become quiet and still enough to hear its voice. Our intuition can become overpowered by our mind.  As Albert Einstein said, ““The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant.  We live in a world that has elevated the servant to the role of master and forgotten the sacred gift.”  He really was smart!!      

Lastly, the most subtle sheath is the Ananda Maya Kosha our Bliss sheath. This is the one that is closest to our Citta/consciousness. We need stillness to feel this layer of ourselves. Like a deep Savasana or a good meditation.   

Our Citta, spark of consciousness, is described as a sword that is surrounded by the 5 sheaths. If we do not feel totally alive, conscious, blissed then there are blockages in or between our koshas. This creates a disconnect between these different aspects of ourselves. Disconnection means less communication, connection and flow and then our bodily processes do not work as well as they could. Out body does not connect with our mind, or our breath feels stuck and our enery/prana is low and we lose our connection to our deeper body wisdom.  I can feel this and perhaps you do too?   

Each of these koshas is connected to the others and most connected to the ones before and after it. Each of these koshas needs nourishment.  

You probably all know how to nourish your physical body. But how do you nourish your subtle bodies?  Well let’s start again with the most obvious, our physical self and work our way inward.   

Our physical body needs the nourishment it can receive from good food, water, sleep and moderate exercise. We are what we eat…or really we are what we can digest well! Our inner ecosystem is formed by what we put into it from our outer ecosystem! Having a good relationship with our outer ecosystem and knowing where our food comes from helps to nourish us. The better our digestion is the less gunk we have clogging our systems. The cleaner our body is the more prana it can hold.   

Our prana needs us to focus on it. As my mentor says “we feed what we focus on”. When we turn our loving attention onto ourselves this helps our prana to grow in strength and gives us more vitality! We can nourish and develop a stronger relationship with our Prana Maya Kosha by mindfully watching and slowing our breathing, or practicing self-massage to bring greater connectivity to self. 

More prana in our body equals more awareness and deepens our connection to our body. Then we see more and more the science of cause and effect that Ayurveda is. How do I feel after doing…..? (Fill in the blank!). If it lights you up and makes you feel great not just in the moment but with lasting benefits (like a good nights sleep or a deep connection with a friend), repeat. If …… makes you feel crappy then have a think about what else could fill the blank to help you to feel great.   

Keeping good company also helps us to hold onto our prana. We all know effects of a draining relationship, one that we should have pruned away years ago? Being around inspirational people feeds our prana and helps us to become more aware so that we in turn may inspire others!!   

More Prana creates more power of reflection which leads to better choices each day for better health!!  Prana can also be increased through practices like Yoga, Chi Gong, Tai chi as well as thorugh good food and good digestion. More Prana will make a smarter mind (manomaya kosha) and a more awake body (anna maya kosha). As it most strongly affects those 2 layers that it is closest to.   

Our mind needs engagement with that which it enjoys. Stimulating conversation with friends, or work that it thrives on. How often do you get to do this?   
But it also needs time out. Stillness. Our mind can have conflicting ideas which can create confusion and turmoil in the body. When there is a lack of Prana/lifeforce/consciousness in the mind then we get stuck in old thought patterns, emotional patterns and just feel stuck in our lives.  Meditation is the best practice to invite spaciousness, non- grasping to thoughts and help us to be able to shift our negative thought habits.    

Deeply connected to the mind and the bliss body, is the Vjnana Maya Kosha. This intuitive mind is affected by the two other sheaths on either side of it. If, As Albert Einstein said, if the mind is over powering our intuition, how can we tap into this wellspring of knowing?  If there is no meditation practice, how do we disconnect from the mental chatter that, if we do not distance ourselves from, ends up creating our reality?   

If we create time to reflect on each day, what we learned and how we can use that learning for our next day, then we can create the space for listening to that subtle aspect of ourselves. When we have a connection to our vjnana maya kosha all of our choices in life become easier. There is no second guessing and over thinking (which by the way is sooo draining to our energy), no battle in the mind, just an easy and gentle knowing that imbues all of our decisions! Bliss! And yes that state also connects us with the bliss body, our Ananda Maya Kosha.   

Looking after our physical food body, our prana/breath body, our mind and intuition gives us clear access to our Bliss Body!! 
How can you live in this space? To put it simply…Slow down!! 
Make more time for you! Connect with those people who uplift you, care for yourself and schedule time to do what you love.   
Make some time soon before the rush of Christmas to have a think about what your needs are. What can you do that will lead you into better health? The knowing is there! You just have to slow down enough to hear it!   

With Love,