On Easter Sunday, like all holidays, I taught Yoga in Concord. The theme was how we all live in a constant flow of unbecoming and becoming. I looked it up, and did the math:
During the course of a 90 minute Yoga class about 27 billion of your cells will perish, and around the same amound will be regenerated… And what are the raw materials for these new cells?
What you nourish yourself with.
When we hear the word nourishment, we tend to think about the food we eat.
But nourishment is all we take in, with all our senses.. and for practicing yogis, we have five bodies or Koshas to care for. (Kosha is an anicent Sanskrit word that means sheath.) From the outer to the innermost, our 5 sheaths and how to nourish and balance them:
Annamaya Kosha – the phyiscal body. You are not just what you eat, but also how you eat.
Which would be more nourishing – to all your senses: A beautiful meal of your favorite nutritious and compassionate foods, prepared with care and served in a warm – inviting atmosphere… or a nuked frozen burrito inhaled while watching TV?
My Italian heritage comes with a great love for food shared with family and friends. Growing up we always ate meals together and shared a big Sunday meal at my gradparents simple and loving home.
Make a big pot of something healthy, make enough to share. Be sure to move daily, practice your Yoga Asanas, take a long walk. Nobody to walk with? Go to the local shelter and volunteer to walk the dogs. Visit www.nutritionfacts.org -A good resource for what to eat more of, and what to eat less of.
Pranamaya Kosha – The energetic body. The ancients got still enough to map out the flow of energies and consciousness that that animate the physical body. They called it Prana. This is the spark of life that you share will all beings.
For Yogis the breath is a pharmacy. Check out this breathing ratio chart for practices to energize and to calm the Pranamaya Kosha. Take time to refill the well, Get rest and spend time in nature. Fill your life with inspiring and passionate people who you feel good around.
Manomaya Kosha – The layers of mental activity – your intellect
Be a lifelong student, Read a book, take up an intstrument, visit this compilation of the most interesting documentry films free to watch online. Try a crossword puzzle, teach someone how to play chess. Turn off the gps and get lost, take a different route home from work, Get clear about what matters most to you. Meditate to spend time in that space between your thoughts.
VijnanaMaya Kosha – The Wisdom Body. Our sense of self and where we fit in the bigger picture. A connection to a truth outside ourselves, that all of life is connected… for some this means their spiritual practice, or choice of religion.
Turn off the tv, and take a walk in the temple of nature. Listen to Ted talks that inspire you, read scripture, Get a copy of The Yoga Sutras. Deeper levels of meditatation, and looking inward for answers balance the Vijnanamaya Kosha.
Anandamaya Kosha – Bliss – Joy – Happiness. Our very essence.
Our innermost sheath. In an unpracticed person, it is said to be the size of a mustard seed. By nurturing and nourishing this 'bliss center' it grows within you, and can even emanate beyond our physical bodies. Move towards happiness, and acts that make others happy. Surround yourself with beauty, art, music, silence. What lights you up inside? Find the joy in helping others.
In this season of renewal, be reborn into a life that nourishies and balances these five aspects of yourself.
As you nurture your connections with music, art, your Yoga practice, time in nature, friends and family, your relationships… You'll have less room in your life for activities and situations that drain you. You'll have more energy to focus on what matters most.
After your next Yoga practice, take those last few moments of stillness and welcome your 27 billion new cells to the new you!
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Om Shanti, I'll see you in class.
(p.s.) save the night! Friday May 11th 7-9pm for a special gathering with myself and visiting NYC teacher – Jessica Shanthi Crow, at the Yoga studio in West Concord.
Jessica is known for spending much of her waking hours upside-down, but on this night, We'll co-teach a blend of several Meditation practices – play some music, flowing into a mellow restorative Yoga sequence/Yoga Nidra guided relaxation.
Decadent, like a mini retreat of the senses. All levels welcome. By donation towards Jessica's travel expenses.
Jessica will be leading some workshops in the area and also will join me in co-teaching our Sunday 9am Yoga class in Concord on May 13th. Perhaps we'll hear her amazing voice break out into song… Om….