Embrace your inner self and create a new kind of story this Summer. Feeling enriched and full of positive energy following my active holiday to the South of France.
I was so lucky to spend the week with Star Surf Camps in Moliets; twice a day Yoga, surfing everyday, strolling along the beautiful sandy beach and breathing in the fresh ocean air.
I love how Summer wraps itself around you like a warm blanket. Waking to nourishing sunshine and feeling the gentle breeze on your skin. Just as plants bloom, it is our chance to grow and flower.
If you are a health conscious person like me, I imagine you love being physically active in the great outdoors this time of year. Whether it is a brisk walk, a game of tennis, surfing or even gardening, you recognise the importance of staying physically active. We spend a lot of time keeping our physical body in shape, but have you exercised your subtle body?
Star Surf Camps Deluxe
Looking after your inner self:
According to Yoga tradition, everyone has five bodies, each made up of increasingly finer grades of energy. If we intend to live a fully balanced, healthy life, all of our bodies need to be kept in good condition.
This is a holistic way of thinking. As a Physiotherapist, my work depends on scientific research and evidence based practice. I understand that some of you may be a little hesitant to this holistic way of thinking. It is only recently that I opened up to other concepts of healing and healthy living to ensure I have a happy, harmonious life, and in turn I have noticed my physical self become stronger.
To be put this simply, we are made of layers. Human beings exist as a physical body, 'a material body'. In order for our physical body to exist, we are filled with life energy which allows our inner systems to run smoothly. Within this vital force is another body of thought energy. Deeper still lies another body comprised of intellect. Hidden deeper still, is an even subtler body known as pure joy; the ability to experience and embrace happiness, delight and bliss.
These sheaths are known as Koshas and they form our layers. Only the densest is made of matter, the others are invisible although we can easily sense their presence within us if we pay close attention.
The 5 Koshas:
Your first body 'Annamaya Kosha'
Maya translating to 'made of' and Anna relating to 'food' or physical matter. This is our physical sheath.
Your second body 'Prana-maya Kosha'
Called 'Chi' in Chinese medicine and Prana in Yoga. This is the life energy that governs your biological body, from breathing to digestion. When it ceases to operate, your body can no longer function. Without Prana supporting your physical body and providing energy to your cells and body systems, you cannot continue to operate for more than a few minutes. This can be enhanced by focussing on exercises such as diaphragmatic breathing and eating fresh, whole foods (such as those on my blog!)
Your third body 'Manomaya Kosha'
This body is made of thought processes, your mental body, responsible for all sensory and motor activities. It processes the input from our five senses and responds reflexively. The health of this body is enhanced through mantra meditation. This soothes and balances the inner body and helps to release 'knots' of energy tied up in negative and obsessive thoughts.
If we supply this third sheath with a stream of violent TV shows and video games, it begins to crave increasingly more aggressive forms of stimulation and may become agitated and less sensitive to the suffering of others. A harmonious environment, interesting professional challenges and fun supportive relationships offer the ideal environment for the mind.
I invite you to re-create my Summer Pilates playlist for some beautiful songs and read some of my selected poetry to help create your harmonious environment. It works for me and may work for you too.
Your fourth body ' Vijnanamaya Kosha'
'The power of judgment' or intellect. This encompasses all functions of the higher mind. Those who establish their awareness here free themselves from unhealthy thoughts and actions, and develop self control to achieve their goals.
For example, someone who doesn't seem to be in control of their life, who is constantly reacting to circumstances rather than making a firm decision and responding pro-actively, requires work on this sheath. This kind of person will have a hard time making up their mind, thinking for them self
and being creative. It leads you to having little will power and becoming a victim of poor judgement. This is me! I am guilty of making decisions I often regret and I am still working on my judgement and assertiveness. It takes time.
The most important thing is to accept the layer you need to work on the most and focus your attention here.
Your fifth body 'Anandamaya Kosha'
In the vast majority of humans, this layer is underdeveloped. Ananda relating to 'spiritual bliss' also known as pure joy, happiness, our divine self.
We can awaken our bliss sheath through our daily practices. This can be done through 'seva', self-less service, meditation and our own mindfulness practice.
But simply smile, embrace life and people, say hello to those you meet and create a positive environment around you.
Gratitude by John O' Donohue
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough and more.
It turns denial into acceptance,
Chaos to order, confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast,
A house into a home,
A stranger into a friend.
Gratitude makes sense of our past,
Brings peace for today,
And creates a vision for tomorrow.
Summer Pilates Playlist
Lost in Time- Fakear
Fairytale Lullaby- Bombay Bicycle Club
Nana- Polo and Pan
Main Girl- Charlotte Cardin
Enjoy the Silence- Moriarity
La Thune- Angele
This World- Selah Sue
Stranger/ Lover- Ibeyi
A Walk- Tyco
Riverside- Agnes Obel
Educate the Masses- Blue King Brown
Burns- George Fitzgerald
Love and Hate- Michael Kiwanuka
Paradise Circus- Massive Attack
Follow the Sun- Xavier Rudd
Fever to the Form- Nick Mulvey