One of the things I love most about Ayurveda is that it is a science that is as old as time. It includes within it things so subtle that we are still discovering them today, like the pancha kosha or five layers of the self. The pancha kosha are not only the five layers of the subtle body, they are also the five things that contribute to the making of a human. Food, air or energy, feelings, intellectual experiences and joy are all things that we ingest to make us who we are.
In order to build vibrant health it is really important to eat organic food that is in season and matches your elemental type. This will help to create a strong physical body or anamaya kosha. The energy body or pranayamaya kosha is built by breathing clean air and living and working in places where the energy is health. Some things that contribute to unhealthy energy are clutter, invisible rays (wifi), excessive electrical energy or air pollution. Ayurveda sites that lighting a ghee lamp to help clear the air is helpful. I have also found that using a Himalayan salt lamp in rooms that have poor air circulation or heavy energy is very helpful. Succulent plants, tulsi plants and plants in general also help to purify air and energy.
The manomaya kosha or emotional layer is healthy when we are exposed to things that help us feel uplifted. Healing music, positive affirmations, joyful conversations, mantra chanting and spending time with people we love all help to build a robust emotional self. Things that can harm the emotional layer are exposure to violence, excess negativity, gossiping, trauma and loneliness. It is very important to consider the things you put into your heart. Negative media is like junk food to the heart. Avoid surrounding yourself with negativity and aim to spend special time each day in gratitude. Feed your heart with things that are beautiful!
The vignyanamaya kosha or mental layer of the self is built by ideas, mindsets and beliefs. In order to have a healthy mind it is important to provide the brain with exercises like crosswords or math puzzles. Read on a variety of topics and try to learn something new each day. Some of the things that make the mind less fluid are strict dogmatic thinking, refusal to be open to new ideas and blind faith without exploring or investigating information.
The anadamaya or spiritual layer of the self is built up by spiritual experiences, time spent in nature and time spent in meditation. Anandamaya literally translates to the joy layer or bliss layer. If you were to peel back all of the stress, emotions and thoughts that are the grosser layers of self you would find a calm inner aspect of yourself. This is the finest layer of self and is often the most difficult to tap into, but when this layer is healthy we have an increased ability to manage stress, stay open minded, listen to our intuition, express healthy emotions and enjoy a strong, healthy body. This is the subtlest and truest layer of self.
In today’s world, we are encouraged to rush, from the minute we wake up we are to put our feet on the floor and start running! We are encouraged to run until we put our head on the pillow at night. This causes a disturbance in all layers of self and, a disconnection to the layer of self that is most important because it helps us regulate all the other layers. The bliss layer is what keeps us grounded and gives us the ability to live in the moment and process stressors as they arise rather than bringing them forward into the future. To build this layer of self we need to slow down. Breathe deeper, open our senses to the natural world, look for beauty, touch other people’s lives with our love.
In my opinion, this layer is the most important layer of self. I have gone through phases of my life when I forget to tap into bliss and then spirit reminds me how to find my way back home and I am always shocked with how simple it is to find deep peace.
I would like to share 3 super simple ways to tap into your bliss layer so that you can feel healthy, happy and connected to joy in your everyday life.
Usually people set an alarm to wake themselves up and then hit snooze until they are forced to jump out of bed and run into their lives. I would suggest that you use that snooze space to practice an ancient technique called shielding. Just lay in bed and feel your back touching the bed, feel into the front of your body, deepen your breath and imagine that you are opening your senses to love and joy and beauty. Imagine that that beauty becomes a shield or cloak or veil that keeps you in touch with beauty constantly. Request that veil to keep you in touch with inner peace, no matter what happens during the day. Ask to be guided with love, connected to beauty and filled with joy in every moment of this day.
Did you ever stop to think about how life is so damn routine? We just repeat the same activities every day, have the same conversations with people, complain about the same things… My live awake challenge is to be in touch with your senses, look for sunrises, pretty smiles, listen for birds, feel soft fabrics, I know this might sound trivial, but when we start to be more alive in our senses, we start to live in the moment. We see more of the big picture. This technique helps in moments of challenge because it enables you to see a fuller perspective of the moment. When you are in the middle of a heated discussion and are able to tap into the sound of music in the background it enables you to remember that what you are going through is not the only thing happening. There is a bigger reality. There are other things that are just as real and you are not alone and your difficulty is not permanent. Tapping into all that is around you also helps you feel more alive and opens your mind and heart to a fuller experience of life.
When you see something that makes you happy share it. When you feel love toward somebody tell them. When you feel blessed, pay it forward and bless somebody else. This not only helps you grow your own joy layer, it helps grow the planet’s joy layer. Spreading joy gives others permission to do the same. Taking a moment to appreciate life puts you in the space of gratitude and infinite possibility and this is the space where manifesting happens.
Ayurveda is a science that looks at health from a full spectrum of the human experience. True health is not just a healthy body, but a healthy body, mind and heart.
When people are really healthy, they are connected to a joy that just flows out of them and they become a source of health and joy to others!
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