Yoga offers many great ways to look at things.
One of those ways of looking is called the Punchamaya (or Koshas).
It’s simple really, there are different parts of you– 5 layers to be exact.
Each of these layers can effect your health in positive or negative ways, and each layer has a tool that will help you keep all your parts in balance.
5 Layers + 5 Tools = Happy You!
The first layer is the Physical Body.
When this layer is out of balance you might experience aches and pains, stiffness, and tight muscles.
The tool for the physical layer is Asana (yoga poses) or movement.
So when you notice your muscles getting tight, or pain accumulating from sitting at your desk too long writing on the computer (*points at self) you can use this tool- get up + move around, stretch a bit, or do some gentle yoga.
The second layer is the Energetic Body.
When this layer is out of balance you might experience fatigue or lack of energy, or have too much energy which can cause things like anxiety and panic attacks.
The tool for the energetic layer is Pranayama (breath work).
When you notice your energy feeling off, you might try putting your attention on your breath.
Are you breathing? How are you breathing? Can you gradually deepen your inhale and lengthen your exhale over the course of several breaths? What happens to your energy when you do this?
The third layer is the Mental Body.
When this layer is out of balance you might find yourself worrying or stressing over little things.
Your mind may make up stories about situations happening around you, and you might find yourself obsessed with the situations and stresses of others.
The tool for the mental layer is chanting (sound).
When you notice your mind running away with you, try turning on some music. Pop your favorite tune in the CD player + sing-right-along.
Notice how quickly your mind leaves that loop of stress and worry and moves you to a place of joy and ease.
The fourth layer is the Emotional Body.
When this layer is out of balance you might experience moodiness, sadness, or excessive fear.
All of the previous tools will be helpful with this layer, but the primary tool for the emotional layer is meditation (self-reflection).
The first step to working with the emotional layer is to simply observe how you react to everyday circumstances.
Do you notice a pattern? Are you generally upbeat and easy, fearful and cautious, or angry and unkind?
Once you identify patterns that don’t move you forward in a positive way, you can take short periods of time to ponder a different way of being.
Then you can begin to take little steps in the direction you want to go.
The fifth layer is the Spiritual Body.
When this layer is out of balance you might feel disconnected, or experience a lack of purpose.
The tool for the spiritual layer is ritual.
When you notice feelings of disconnection you might try creating a daily practice with purpose.
The point of a ritual or daily practice is for you to connect with what is most important in your life.
Your practice could be related to religion, or family, or nature. A practice set around the intention of improving your health, or reaching toward goal will also work well.
Adding even the simplest practice to your daily routine can be a deeply spiritual experience.
Make it so.
Caring for all your parts is an important piece to building a healthy, happy life.
You are the only one who can do it, so why not get to it!
Choose one simple thing you can do right now to take care of you and post it in the comments below.
Want help building a daily practice that will support you in living a happy, healthy life? Give me a shout!