Photo by Devanath
In the last few blogs we covered Annamaya, the first of the five yogic Koshas and the second being the Pranayama Kosha (life force or breath sheath-layer). Today, I wanted to share a little insight on the third layer; Manomaya Kosha which essentially is how we feed the mind through sensory interpretation. The physical body, ones vitality or life force nourish what's considered to be the mind through sights, sounds, smell, taste, touch and the emotional state throughout our everyday interactions.
The third layer, Manomaya Kosha processes not only ones thoughts, it can also define the emotional experience. It oversees the basic need for safety, security and protection and it's governed by thoughts in the mind and actions that happen automatically without conscious control. Because the mind is powerful, it can dominate the outer layers or sheaths a.k.a. annamaya kosha and pranamaya kosha (click on the links above to learn more from prior blog posts).
There is a way of working with the mind, by using mantras and/or meditation. Perhaps you've heard the saying, "What you feed, grows." We're not just talking about food or nutrition here. Now could be the perfect time to examine ones thoughts, feelings and/or self-care routine. When we don't pay attention to what's on our mind, the mind is more than happy to go on autopilot; and it's in this mode that repetitive decisions continue to be made. A good life coach would tell you that you cannot do or think the same thing over and over again and expect to get a different result.
So how does one make that shift, right? Yoga provides some useful tools to focus the mind or thought process through mantra repetition and/or meditation. If you've ever attended one of my restorative yoga classes this is something that's incorporated. For example, in the "Ode to Joy" class we used the following mantras throughout our practice such as: "I am joy," "I am joyful," "I choose joy" and if anyone struggled with that, it was suggested to place the words, more and more in-front of those words or to try using the mantra "May joy find me." If you try this and find your mind wondering, you can always just try taking it back to these simple words of intention.
SO, one of the most effective ways to declutter and focus the thought process is through mantra repetition. >>> The simple repetition of a word or phrase can help create a pause allowing the mind to rest, renew or calm down.<<<
Regarding self-care, it's also important to feed the mind consciously through routines that nurture, energize, and stimulate the mind. Try to consciously choose to fill your day with positive interactions, creative projects, smiling, intentional movement, people you love and/or some mediation. If those options become less available, you can turn to mantra repetition to avoid your mind slipping into autopilot syndrome.
I really struggled with this last week so I thought it was timely that the Manomaya Kosha was the next blog topic to write about. I also have to admit that I've not used mantras outside of my yoga practice, and excited to try it during the daily routine. If this sounds uncomfortable to you, don't worry, nobody needs to know as you don't have say the mantra out loud (more on that in the next blog). I just think it's worth a try especially if you find yourself being mentally challenged.
As I complete this blog, I want to share a few simple mantra suggestions you can use to find peace of mind during this uncertain time such as, "I am calm," or "I am happy," or just "I am here" or find a phrase that works for you right now in this present moment. Wishing all of you peace and good health.