How to Have Healthy Holidays with All 5 Layers of Your Being
Plug into the koshas to find a balanced path through this holiday season. Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Local Saturday, and Cyber Monday all followed each other to kick off the frenzy of activity eating, shopping and celebration in the holiday season. In the northern hemisphere, low light, increased activity and expectations can put pressure on us and pull us out of balance.
How can the koshas help us navigate this season?
Kosha means sheath, close-fitting covering—like a wet suit for water skiing or scuba or a scabbard for a knife.
These five layers help make us who we are and shape our experience. The koshas affect each other and the whole. Understanding the structure of our energetic being informs our awareness and our choices. Opening access to all the layers empowers our lives.
At different times experience is influenced differently by each of the five layers. A more balanced connection to and awareness of the five koshas supports a clear expression of our truth. Elements of a healthy daily routines forge and encourage balanced connection.
1. Annamaya Kosha
Annamaya kosha is the food body, the physical. If we are out of touch with our bodies, during the holidays it is easy to eat too much and sleep too little. Stories of the average weight gain of five pounds between Thanksgiving and New years for overweight folks affirm the need to stay balanced between celebration, body and self.
Sensation is the language of the food body. Your physical body will ask for your help to honor its needs in a strong daily routine and balanced food intake.
What to do: Use your daily routine to soothe and satisfy your food sheath. If overwhelm is pulling you out of your body, try a gentle yoga class, oil massage or progressive relaxation practice to keep your feet on the ground. Stay in close connection with your anamaya kosha.
2. Pranamaya Kosha
Pranamaya kosha is the energy body. This sheath is also stressed out during the holidays. Black Friday doors opened at 1 am. Were you in line? All kinds of extras with shopping and cards and dinner parties can sap your energy.
The cold air and low light say have a little cave time. Relaxing and staying warm is seasonally in tune, but the pressures of the holidays demand late nights and extra running around. This can cut you off from your breath and source of life force, make you feel isolated and depleted.
What to do: Add an easy breath practice of three conscious breaths, three times each day, to reconnect and reinvigorate.
3. Manomaya Kosha
Manomaya kosha, the mind sheath, is often in control for this season. The rituals and expectations of the holidays drive our activities and narrow our awareness. The pressure to be enough, get the best gift, follow family traditions and feel the right feelings is strong. Patterns drive our behavior.
For balance, let go of the expectations and mindless slavery to rituals that don’t serve you. . Look inside and outside your traditions to simplify and identify what really is important to you and your family. Get enough sleep. Sleep is crucial to a healthy mind sheath.
What to do: Practice mantra to still mind chatter. Use your dina charya practice to reinforce going to bed early.
4. Vigyananamaya Kosha
Vigyananamaya kosha is the source of your conscience and intuition. It taps into the deep well of wisdom to guide and support you.
The opportunity to tune in and get support on the myriad of choices in the holiday season is key. A balanced sense of discernment can pull you out of reaction and clarify your path. Listen to that voice that supports great choice and the higher view.
What to do: Add a one-minute meditation practice as part of your morning routine, in the parking lot of the mall or to get in touch with your intuition and spiritual wisdom.
5. Anandamaya Kosha
Anandamaya kosha is the bliss body. Anada means bliss. Our ability to feel bliss might be enhanced by the celebration and joy of the holiday season, but we often lose touch with the bliss trying to satisfy the mind body and the needs of others. Most of us are still reaching for contact with our bliss body.
Occasionally we get a surprise dip into bliss. Take a breath to honor your bliss body and recognize its constant presence deep within.
What to do: Devotion and service are the traditional paths to bliss. Experience bliss when caroling, chanting. Appreciate an exquisite moment of flow in service to your family this holiday season.
Refining your connection to the koshas can make this year’s holidays healthy and balanced, full of joy, special to you and those you love. Blessings to you and yours this holiday season.