I woke up to cold temperatures, however the sun was shining and the forecast was for the day to become surprisingly warm. I thought to myself “This is a day for layers”.
Layers are practical. We put them on and take them off depending on how our body feels. I like the whole idea of layers … and it made me think about the other types of layers that we have as human beings.
How easy is it to add them and how easy is it to shed them?
As we add layers they protect us, yet weigh us down over time… For example, when we pretend to know something because we are afraid to let others see that we don’t know. Ego protecting strategies easily become burdens that are hard to let go of.
As we shed layers we become more vulnerable, yet at the same time we get lighter and more free. For example, taking off our “I am strong” mask and letting someone see that we need help, allows us to be authentic and true to our own feelings and thoughts.
Appreciating this can bring a new awareness of ourselves and our inner being.
Can you imagine yourself as a layered being? Like one of those Russian nesting dolls.
I love the yoga philosophy approach to our individual layers. They are called the 5 Koshas, which means sheaths in sanskrit. They are:
Physical – The outer sheath is our physical body. How it looks and functions. Our Annamaya kosha. We are well acquainted with this layer. It faces us in the mirror every day.
Energy – The next layer is our life energy. Like the Chinese Chi, yoga energy is called Prana. This is our Pranamaya kosha. We can’t see it, but we know it is present in our breath and our sense of well being.
Mental – Beneath this is the layer of our thinking and emotions. Our mental body is called Manomaya kosha. This is the controller and director of operations.
Wisdom – The fourth sheath is our inner wisdom and being a witness to our selves. Our Vijnamaya kosha. I like to think of it as our intuitive layer of unconscious wisdom and knowing.
Bliss – The innermost layer is bliss. This is a place of beauty, joy and peace which surrounds the divine center of our being called the Atman. The Anandamaya kosha connects us to a Universal Consciousness, Source or Divine Spirit.
Like the eye on a peacock’s feather, each layer creates a beautiful whole.
I believe we are spiritual beings encased in sheaths. To live life fully we must learn to bring awareness to each layer and how it shows up, not only in our yoga practice, but in our daily lives.
Finding our Middle Ground opens the door to exploring these inner realms. In shedding our layers we connect more and more with our spiritual Self and inner Being.
It is there for each and every one of us.