How do you feel right now?
Over the last couple of blogs we have been exploring the yogic philosophy of koshas, or layers o
Yoga for calm
f being. We started our tour in the physical layer, then moved into the energy layer and now we journey into our emotional or feeling layer, the manomaya kosha.
Sometimes during a yoga practice we can become emotional, tears may well roll, and very often we don’t know where they have come from, or they bring with some memory that we’ve pushed into the recesses of our minds. Emotions that we may well have repressed for a long time are being released from this layer. Dru Yoga is very good at dislodging these trapped emotions and energy, and allowing them to be released, think of our energy block release sequences. Emotions that are trapped will always cause disturbance and dis-ease within the body in some form, so it is vital that we don’t hold on.
A friend of mine was telling a group we were working with, about how she had witnessed an frightening episode whilst traveling on the London Underground, the image of what had happened remained powerful, so she worked hard to let it go. Very soon after she started to suffer with lower back aches and pain. At the time she did not connect the 2 events as she felt she had satisfactorily let go of the situation. A few weeks later she was practising her Dru Yoga, she’d worked through an energy block release sequence and then moved onto 4 stage cobra. During this practice she had a flash back of the event on the tube, she saw it, heard it and felt it as if it was happening right there and then. The emotions were still there, fear and tension. Then it passed. She knew she had fully let go now, and from that moment on there was no more back pain. The pain was the trapped fear, not a physical problem.
I find this story fascinating and inspiring. Every time we step on to our yoga mat we are potentially releasing something “toxic” that is causing us pain and dis-ease. The pain of a challenging event or time, may be lodged in any of our layers. If we take my friend’s example, she was manifesting the pain physically in her back (interesting in holistic therapies low back pain is often linked with fear and anxiety), she’d also noticed that her breathing was not quite as settled as it usually was, which she put down to holding herself tense because of the back pain. Clearly she was also still holding onto some of the emotion connected with this incidence which was rippling all the way through her body. As she worked with her Dru Yoga, which took her through all the koshas she was able to release and bring herself back to balance. Had she just focused on physical movements to help her back pain, she might have helpedd the pain short term but not got to the root of the problem. The capacity for healing on all levels is, for me, one of the real gifts of Dru Yoga. I hope this is making sense?!
Let’s go back to our Tree posture then, and have a think about how you can tap into your manomaya kosha when you are doing your own yoga practice. You’ve got yourself into Tree, you feel physically aligned, aware of the muscles involved, you’ve become aware of how you breathe in the posture, how it flows and expands, settling you with each breath.
Now bring your awareness to how this posture makes you feel, great if you can bring your focus to your heart centre. What emotions are popping up? Are they what you were expecting, or was there something unusual? Is it a reflection of how you are feeling right now, or perhaps something else is nudging for attention? Take your time to let the emotions surface, it might not happen at all sometimes, you might need to practice every day for a few weeks or something might present straight away. Whatever and however emotions manifest though, try not to give them anymore energy. Acknowledge the emotion, I might say silently to myself something on the lines of “oh, some sadness has just appeared, that’s interesting, and it’s ok for me to let it pass now”, but be aware of getting too involved in the memories or energy of the emotion. Of course, you may well discover something you need to address or deal with it, but you do not need to get wrapped up in it. This is a key part of this practice. Just observe.
It doesn’t need to be a negative emotion you’re releasing either! Far from it – we want to enjoy our yoga and feel good after practising! Notice if a particular yoga practice makes you feel uplifted, positive, strong, confident, jolly, loving etc.. Then you know what postures and techniques to put in your personal yoga toolbox, to employ when you need a lift. As before I hope you can see the practical benefits of being aware of your koshas.
You can record your findings in a journal. Which can be very helpful…. I’ll blog about yoga journals some other time, but for now trust me, they are useful 🙂
Hope you’ve found this interesting. Let me know how you get on and if you’ve any questions. Next time we’re getting intellectual! Ix