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Life is Like A Butterfly..Yoga's 5 Veils to Healing Holistically 🦋

What happens when you have a regular exercise routine, eat well, sleep well but then become ill or begin to suffer from a chronic disease?

The most natural and human response is why me?

The path to self-healing is an opportunity for Self-discovery, like the metamorphosis from a caterpillar to a butterfly, there is a period of struggle and challenge before the butterfly transforms from the chrysalis triumphant.

In Yoga therapy we see a person holistically - an integrated Mind, Body and Soul.

A useful model to understand this concept and for integrative healing is The Panchamaya Koshas* - Pancha meaning "Five" in Sanskrit and both Maya and Kosha can be defined as veil, illusion, sheath or body.

The 5 veils surround the sixth kosha, Atmamaya kosha, our True Essence from the most subtle to the densest... all interconnecting and affected by the other. tt is similar to the idea of a Russian doll or 5 energetic subtle fields of energy from where your True Self/Nature radiates:

  • The Anandamaya Kosha, the Bliss Body.

This is the most subtle often illustrated at the centre the "Being" part of a Human Being, covered by each of the following veils/sheaths. The Bliss body is also known as Samadhi (Raja Yoga's 8th Limb of Yoga) and is associated with the state of dreamless sleep. Here we experience deep inner peace, liberated from our thoughts, emotions, energy and our physical body.

The Vijnanamaya Kosha, the wisdom/intuition body.

To tune in to our intuition we need to settle the mind. Find stillness and space to connect to our inner voice/teacher. Also described as our true calling, our heart's felt desire, our life's mission, our Dharma or our life's purpose. For most of us, we are too busy worrying about the future to stop and check-in to listen. The quality of being present helps access this realm. When awakened It is the bridge from the individual to the universal mind and with it more intuition and discernment.

Meditation, silent prayer and Yoga Nidra is a safe vessel to explore, rest, restore and tune in. Esoteric Astrology can offer useful insights also.

  • The Manomaya Kosha, the mind and emotional body.

I would say this is where we have the power to shift from chronic disease to ease. By making more educated and healthier choices - how can we nourish our mind and emotions?

Our past traumas, internal dialogue and external environment, lifestyles and relationships will influence our outlook. To become more conscious, to observe and let go of the things/patterns that are not good for our health and consciously choose the more nourishing options.

Whether that be cutting down on the time spent on social media, watching Netflix, looking at the types of books we read, the types of programmes we choose to watch, all will make a positive or negative imprint. If we have the news on 24/7 it may raise our anxiety levels. Even the people we spend time with can affect our emotions and our thoughts for the worse or equally for the better. Being more conscious and centred can make a huge difference to our wellbeing and energy.

The power of belief and the quality of our thoughts affect our brain chemistry, which then affects our biochemistry and the organisation of our cells. This can lead to chronic inflammation in the body or contrast to improved health.

Over the last 40 years, there has been a lot of research on neuroplasticity which affirms that with some effort and practice we can change and rewire the paths of neurons of our thoughts and perception to think differently.

it is up to the individual to do the practice and reflection necessary to highlight, what we call in yoga, Samskaras. These are old ingrained programmes or grooves often of faulty beliefs, habits and conditionings. Once identified it is then possible to replace them with the more nourishing Samskaras, higher vibrational thoughts and feelings.

To make a positive shift and redirect the course of our future a little bit of navel-gazing may be necessary. By becoming more conscious, reframing and focusing on the good things, old memories and behaviours will fall away. For some, this is finding the courage to throw away the victim or wrongdoer hat and reframing their memories through a more compassionate lens. In doing so we are rewarded with empowerment to step forward with more confidence and choose to be the master or heroine of our own destiny instead.

Contemplation, Meditation, Yoga Nidra, Sankalpa, Journalling, self-reflection and daily pranayama all help to bring more ease to the Manomaya Kosha.

Through positive intention, we can shift our attitude or mindset to a more empowering uplifting energy which is more conducive to self-healing. From feeling tense to more ease. What if we were to practice less judgement and be more content? Be less critical and give more praise? Be less demanding and more grateful? How would that feel?

How much more free and expansive it would be to forgive, love and show compassion to others than hold on to grudges and judge.

  • The Pranamaya Kosha - the Energy Body

Also known as the Astral, Etheric or Pranic Body. It is the same shape as the physical body and is seen by Clairvoyants as an aura or luminous cloud that radiates from within.

This kosha is related to the Universal life force of prana which according to the ancient yogis, flows through the 72000 pathways of the nadis throughout the body. Prana is absorbed through food, the universal life force that permeates us and our breath.

In yoga, we practise pranayama breathing exercises to connect that universal force which has a positive effect on all the koshas. These practices encourage the flow of prana to keep us healthy and our energy coherent and balanced. We can affect our life force (prana in yoga, chi in TCM) through asana, pranayama, visualisations, working with the vayus, yin yoga. Energy healing, Qi Gong and acupuncture.

  • The Annamaya Kosha, the physical food body.

Luckily there is a lot of information on healthy diets, nutritional information and healthy juice recipes available and many varied yoga asanas that work holistically with the other four koshas integrating and harmonising to experiencing holistic health and wellbeing.

If we find ourselves chronically locked into that hyper-alert state of the sympathetic nervous system termed the fight or flight response, it will hurt our body at all 5 layers. Make time to relax.

"Tension is who we think we should be and relaxation is who we are."

Chinese Proverb

Find time in your day, your week, your month to follow your heart and listen to what you need to feel nourished. If our inner and outer worlds align we can take a deep sigh of relief and connect to our True Essence and have faith that everything will be okay.

As we become more in tune with our koshas we can navigate life's challenges with more ease and feel more love and connection to others and our world.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and in need of some support or would like to practice some yoga therapy I have been offering one-hour Zoom consultations, please do not hesitate to contact me I would love to help. Please click below to register and find out more


Trish x


* Panchamaya Kosha is mentioned in 2.1-5 Taittirya Upanishad, a Tantric Text from the Vedas. It is thought to be composed about the 6th century BC

** There is an entirely legitimate and well-researched branch of medicine called psycho-neuro-immunology which studies the effect of thoughts and emotions on human biochemistry...

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