Take time to connect with your heart, to think about what you really want
Apologies for the delay since my last blog, I’ve had a lot of distractions – theme for a future blog I think!
Here we are though, back experiencing our 5 layers of our being. We have now reached our 4th layer, the thought layer (vijnanamaya kosha). It is interesting to note that in this model of our human experience the thought, also sometimes known as the intellectual layer is the closest to our true nature, our Self, that resides in the centre. It is so important that we get our thoughts in line with our true Self. Thoughts that are at odds with our true nature will cause dis-ease and dis-harmony within the body.
Eastern philosophies have long taught that our thoughts are creating our future. A great teacher of mine, Mansukh Patel, once asked us to be aware of our thoughts for at least a day, and to imagine that each thought we had was displayed on a little screen above our heads, for all the world to see. Ha, ha! I can tell you, that made me very mindful about all the rubbish, mostly unhelpful, and to be honest some of it was quite toxic, that my mind blurted out.
How can we start to harness the power of our mind, ensuring that our thoughts are of benefit to us? One of the best ways is affirmation and visualisation, which we like to bring in to our Dru Yoga practice. Over this series of blogs we’ve been focusing on how we can move between our layers of experience in our yoga, and specifically using Tree pose as an example.
Let us assume then that we are in a physically comfortable, stable Tree posture, we are using our breath to expand and soften, we’ve checked in with how we are feeling and what emotions are present as we flow through the pose. Now, let us dip into the vijnanamaya kosha. Personally I like to soften my vision when I am focussing on this layer, let the eyes drop back a little, let the lids close slightly (still relaxed), so that your vision becomes wider and softer rather than pin pointed (I hope this makes sense!). I find this allows me to see the wider picture, it is easy to become blinkered, just focusing on one thing. You might want to just stay with this, there is no hurry.
If you’ve been bringing awareness to your other layers over the last few weeks, you may have had some insight into what you need to work on. Perhaps you have become aware of a physical niggle, have you been able to expand into this area or is feeling constricted, is there a particular emotion coming up that keeps coming up, has it anything to do with any of your physical sensations? Now go a little deeper, what thoughts are running through your mind? Is the mind busy, is there a recurring thought, if yes, could it be connected with the other things you are experiencing in the different layers?
Of course there are those wonderful times in yoga when we are in the “zone”, it feels wonderful and you are at peace, and is certainly something we aim to achieve in a weekly class. This is a great time to bring in a positive affirmation. Ask yourself on a deep level what it is your heart desires and then make an affirmation, in the present tense, as if you already have achieved your goal. Repeat it to yourself, believe it, feel it deep within. Visualise your goal too, as fully as you can, also part of engaging the thought layer, put that picture of you having achieved your goal firmly in your mind.
If you are working deeper though, inevitably yoga will bring “stuff” up, “stuff” that needs looking at, processing (different to getting involved with) and releasing. Be aware of recurring thoughts, negative thoughts, patterns of criticism. You might want to make a note of them in your journal. If you feel you can, examine these thoughts, without getting involved or emotional. Do these thoughts really serve you? Are they creating dis-ease within your body? Are you able to change these thoughts around, make a positive affirmation? For example, if you find you are very critical of yourself, what about changing that to “I love and approve of myself”, use your new affirmation when you are practising your yoga, feel it coming from your heart. Take that further now, every time a critical thought pops up, let it go, and repeat your new affirmation to yourself. Create a new thought pattern. It’s worth remembering the majority of the thoughts we think are nothing more than habit, our minds are lazy and most of the time it just flicks through your back catalogue of thoughts to find one it thinks fits the current situation. We just have to create a new groove, so that it defaults to a positive thought rather than a negative one.
The mind can be a tricky customer, we need to keep it gainfully employed otherwise it gets bored and starts creating mischief!
As always, I hope this has made some sense, it is a very simplified explanation of a very deep kosha. Let me know how you get on, particularly if you try the practice of having all your thoughts on public display 🙂 Ix