Last week, when I wrote about accessing the core, I was referring to the deep core muscles of your abdomen that provide your body with strength, stability, and vitality. This week the topic is the core of your being. “Whoa, the core of my being, do you really want to go there?” Sure! Why not!
In yoga therapy, we use the koshas to represent the layers of our being with atman at the very center representing our true self or essence. Unlike the core muscles of the trunk which can become weak or inflexible, atman, or your essence, is enduring and unchanging. What can change is your connection with and awareness of your essence.
The koshas or layers that make up your being are the physical body (annamaya kosha), energy or breath body (pranamaya kosha), emotional body (manamaya kosha), wisdom or witness body (vijnanamaya kosha), and bliss body (anandamaya kosha). When these koshas become imbalanced or distorted your perception of your essence changes. Just like the sun never changes even though it may seem to dim with the clouds, your essence never changes even though it may seem to waiver with imbalances in other areas. When we bring balance to the physical, energy, emotional, wisdom and bliss bodies our essence shines brightly, just like the sun shines brightly when the clouds are cleared away.
There are many approaches that you can use to achieve greater balance and reconnect with your true essence. Some approaches include:
- Get out into nature, feeling the earth, and breathing in fresh air.
- Meditate, including sitting meditation, practicing mindfulness, or praying.
- Practice Yoga including yoga postures, yogic breath techniques, and mudras.
- Eat mindfully and nutritiously, and drink adequate amounts of water.
- Surround yourself with people that love and support you.
- Get enough sleep.
- Read philosophical or spiritual texts.
- Engage in creative outlets that you enjoy.
Just as strong, flexible, and engaged core muscles provide your body with strength, ease of movement, and vitality, a strong connection to your true essence allows you to find greater contentment and harmony in your life and experience your bliss.
“Yoga is about clearing away whatever is in us that prevents our living in the most full and whole way. With yoga, we become aware of how and where we are restricted — in body, mind, and heart — and how gradually to open and release these blockages. As these blockages are cleared, our energy is freed. We start to feel more harmonious, more at one with ourselves. Our lives begin to flow — or we begin to flow more in our lives.” ~ Cybele Tomlinson
Katey Hawes, owner and founder of Posabilities, Inc.., is a physical therapist, registered yoga teacher, and yoga therapist.