How is your energy today? Are you feeling tired or are you alive and bouncing? In the west we tend to think of our own energy in this rather simple and limited way. While yoga and other eastern traditions have a more expansive understanding of energy flow.
While we also have only one word for love, regardless of whether we are talking about our, mother, friend, lover or our dog, the ancient Greeks had six words to describe the different types of love we may feel in the different relationships we have. In a similar way, the ancient yoga and tantric texts mapped out the flow of energy within ourselves and within the universe.
One of these yogic traditions tells us that the human being consists of five ‘sheaths’ or layers. In Sanskrit, the ancient spiritual language of India, the layers are called Koshas. They begin at the most subtlest level and like the Big Bang which created the universe, they flow outward, each layer becoming denser until matter is formed and we have become a physical body.
The most subtle layer is the bliss body which unfolds into the wisdom body, which unfolds into the mental layer. The mental layer consists of thoughts and from our thoughts, an energetic structure or field is created. Imagine a human shaped energy matrix consisting of energy channels flowing one to another like blood vessels or nerve pathways. The energy field known as the Pranamaya Kosha, provides the structure from which the physical body maps itself around. It is the bridge between body and mind and is sustained by thoughts, breath, sleep and diet.
Starting at the densest place and most easy for us to comprehend – the physical body – the practises in Yoga point us back towards the bliss body. Through asana, right diet and balanced lifestyle we hone the physical layer. Pranayama, or control of the breath, bridges the body and mind and removes blockages in the energetic layer. Through meditation we access the higher mind and wisdom arises. The ego, ahamkara – the part of ourselves which identifies as an individual, quietens or is transcended and we reach into the bliss layer.
Through yoga journey deep into who you are. Tap into the energetic structure of your body and find physical and mental health and wellbeing. Discover the beauty of the yogic maps of being human.
In the picture: Rachael Wharton practising Nadi Shodhana – Alternate nostril breath which physically balances the right and left hemispheres of the brain, while effecting the Ida and Pingala energy channels running the length of the spine. Ida: the feminine channel, lunar energy, mysticism, intuition, creativity, yin energy. Pingala: the masculine channel, solar energy, action, logic, yang energy.