In our society so many people live in their minds. They are disconnected to the heart and soul within them and often times find themselves feeling lost or alone, full of emotion and thoughts screaming at them daily.
The highest point of Zen is to simply live in the present moment during our ordinary lives.
Our koshas in yoga are the five layers within us. It’s similar to living in a house with 5 rooms, but we almost often only see one or two of these rooms in our whole lives, never knowing there are more to explore!
The first kosha is the physical body layer. It’s what connects us to the earth, our own flesh and blood that we feel daily. We are often so deep into our thoughts that we are disconnected from our bodies as well. When is the last time you received a massage, or sunk your naked body into a deep, relaxing bubble bath (with Epsom salts and essential oils)? When is the last time you truly FELT your body, listening to each part, feeling yourself move in space or even paused to feel the autumn air on your skin?
Reconnect. Pause. Step outside and soak in that moment. The moment you feel the sun shine down onto your cheeks or the wind whip on your skin. Feel yourself take a deep breath and remember to inhale so deeply that your heart and your belly fully extend. Observe how this makes you feel as you sink your feet firmly into the earth and exhale completely until there is nothing left to give in your lungs.
This is the second kosha: breath or pranayama. We regularly breathe in order to keep ourselves alive, but other than being in yoga (or reading the word BREATH online), we do not often deep breathe. One of the best ways to fully reconnect is to do 3-5 minutes of daily deep breathing. Connecting to the second room as you inhale holding at the top for 3 seconds and exhale holding at the bottom of your breath for an additional 3 seconds. The more subtle you get, the deeper you get.
As we dive into the third kosha, the mind, I want you to remember you are NOT perfect. We need to get rid of our ideals and grow into who we are in order to be in the mind with ease. The highest point of Zen is to simply live in the present moment during our ordinary lives. You may not be the next Oprah or Gandhi, but you may be calm and present at your child’s birthday party or full of love and laughter during a conversation with friends. Put your phone down and step into life as you take a deep breath and smile in the here and now.
The fourth kosha is our intuition, that which is screaming to get out and often the door we either never see or choose to ignore. Our intuition will guide us in many decisions and is that gut feeling you have that is never wrong. Tap in and being to listen to your gut, even if it doesn’t make “logical sense” it is almost always right and should be followed. By doing so it will take you the deepest room we have in our lives yet: the bliss body.
As I re-learned this weekend, who wouldn’t want to enter something called the bliss body?
Anandamaya Kosha or the bliss body is our state of eternal bliss and similar to Samadhi or enlightenment. Buddhist monks and ancient yogis all try to achieve the ultimate state of bliss and many succeed, but I have a secret for you: it’s not infinite. It is a tiny and beautiful moment that we can capture but never sustain: the moment you first hear your child scream, the ecstasy as you say I do, the deep belly laughter you experience with your girlfriends and the soul affirming-out of body experience you have in a tantric yoga class. This is bliss in its rawest and truest form and one of our jobs in life is to open the door to this fifth room and stay present in each of these moments. This is eternal bliss, love and happiness… this is connection.
So how do we reconnect; how do we obtain this state of Samadhi?
Stay present. Remember to love today. Take a deep breath. Inhale, hold. Exhale, release. Laugh. Cry. Drink water. Skip down the street. Walk in the rain & feel each drop. Feel the sun on your skin. Relax your shoulders. Take a delicious bath. Feed your body nutritious meals. Create an altar. Buy yourself flowers. Stay in the present moment and breathe.
Your mind cannot fully handle the truth and the intensity of bliss, but your being can so allow your soul to have this blissful earthly experience and trust that you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.