Yoga Detox, Cleansing, Purity and Wellness…Many a Yogi enjoys the restorative experience of having spent retreat with Algarveyoga. The fresh clean food, the outdoors, the Yoga Nidra…all enjoyed with good quality people who are full of life. This enriching and restorative focus on overall wellness through cleansing, brings together a harmony within a person’s system; a harmony which the body innately seeks and so responds to with ease when given the opportunity through time, rest, healthy food, and shared in healthy community.
Detoxing, or rather, cleanliness and purity, is a significant aspect of Yoga, it’s an active engagement with the first Niyama of Saucha. Developing the habit of making this Niyama a daily practice can effectively address the five Koshas, or Yogic Bodies…bringing home with you, any healthy changes you made whilst on retreat.
These Koshas, or sheaths, are like layers of ourselves, each layer an independent and active contribution to our wellbeing, yet they’re all connected, each having an influence on the others…they’re either behaving in harmony with one another or having an out-of-balance pull, depending on our habits and routine. When one sheath is out of balance, all others are likewise affected. So awareness of each sheath is integral and inspirational to our health, and implementing a daily scan of each Kosha can help us feel empowered toward our own inner state of wellness; this awareness is an active contribution we can make to our own wellbeing.
Depending on the teaching you come from, these layers are addressed from physical to the most subtle, or, vice versa…but regardless of this, all sheaths embrace the inner Atman, our place of witnessing. The Koshas by layers are: Physical, Vital, Mental, Higher Intellect, and Bliss. Each body interdependent with the others. Caring for these sheaths can be easy once we’re inclined toward a daily awareness of them. The more work we can put in to the lower four Koshas, the more potential for one day resting in the fifth, or the Bliss Body. However, it is sages who are more actively in tune with this body as they have the insight into its subtlety; and therefore, become alert to its development.
The wellness of our Physical Body comes down to “we are what we eat”; we’re built by the very food we eat and the activity of this physical sheath is determined by the wellness of our Vital Body (the second Kosha). The Vital Body is where the Prana of life flows, and how we utilize Prana determines the vitality of our physical body as well as the quality of our Mind Body. This Mind Body is the lower mind, the monkey mind, and is linked to the physical by the vital…so you’re beginning to see the significance here, no? To breathe properly and fully through the body, to restore vitality brings a calmer mind, one that is less influenced by the harried exterior of life, and more capable of being guided by the insightful wisdom from the Intellectual Body. The more insightful our studies, the more willing we are to submit the distraction of the lower mind to the higher mind; and, reflecting on and implementing what we learn, the more at ease is the lower mind. The lower mind is very susceptible to input, so the more we can create a quality environment for it to learn in, the more amenable it is to learn the right things and therefore work for us rather than against us.
So you see, retreat with Algarveyoga isn’t simply a vacation, the environment of wellness and uplifted energy is restorative to your very being on all levels. If we can address the five Koshas (or Yogic Bodies) daily, even after retreat, we begin to notice the power of the Witness Self affirming a greater inner peace, and we bring a completeness of wellness to our whole being.
written by Letters In Yoga with Vanessa Webb, in gratitude to Algarveyoga
Photo by Katherine Sousa on Unsplash
The Ocean of Consciousness within the human heart is second only to Agni (Fire), and stands ahead of the Consciousness of Darkness (or, the intelligence of silence). These are the three Oceans in which we're birthed. Can we rest in how precious that is...
Rest in it long enough to wonder: When there is love have we said first, I will not harm you when I love you?
Our human love longs for recognition, this longing brings with it frailty and brokenness. Yet deeper than that, in the Ocean of the Heart Consciousness, the giving of love is inborn in our Being. It doesn't host that need for recognition from another, yet we are not at peace when we have nowhere for it to flow.
Leaving the key behind and thinking for two, the mind decides that if love is going unrecognized, then it's best to pack the heart in a box and bring it up to its own attic for safekeeping, in storage with the old relics it has also entrusted itself with. Placing it alongside things that have been there long enough for webs to build and dust to collect in their weaving.
No matter how many years that boxed love endures that attics' sweltering summer heat and winter chill, it is forever young on that grace filled day when it tumbles down those attic steps while we were up there looking for something else.
The heart’s kingdom is vast. It's in a realm of no-time. And it's in a realm of regeneration. When love has tumbled back to the heart’s domain it lands like a person coming in from an exhilarating walk in the wind. We're transported to a realm that the mind claims not to exist.
The heart has its own voice; and when it's kept clear, swept of dust and clutter, freshened by an open window, the attic of the mind can and will hear the heart's words, and it will respond lovingly and kindly. It will find strength from love that flows because it has no opportunity then, to impose its frailty.
The Ocean of Consciousness of the Heart can carry a million stars and a million wounds, still leaving us able to stand strong beat after beat after precious beat.
This is how miraculous we are.
Will I harm you when I love you.
*this was originally posted to Letters In Yoga