Yoga Philosophy: The Koshas: Manomaya Kosha

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Yoga Philosophy: The Koshas: Manomaya Kosha

solitude-imageFor many of us, this is an emotional time of year.  Family comes into town, or into our homes, or we pack up and travel to see them. This stress, though positive, is stress.

So often, we are so focused on getting things done that we can lose sight of the beautiful emotions involved in the experience and they hit us afterwards.

This play of energy within the emotional layer of our being in the yogic system is the Manomaya Kosha.

The Manomaya Kosha not only comprises of the emotional layer of our being, it also consists of our distractible mind.  In many of the yogic tales, it is referred to as the “monkey mind” the thoughts of the mind that flint in and out, and swirl around, pulling us away from the present moment.

In our yoga practice this part of our being is a large part of practice, and links closely with the physical layer of the body and the energy in breath. Those foundational elements assist us with the quieting of the mind.

Part of working with the Manomaya Kosha is recognizing the thoughts that are passing through the mind, and finding the willingness to allow them to be there without judgement, and then when we are ready, with the breath allowing them to pass.

One of the most beautiful, and often challenging exercises related to the Manomaya kosha is sitting with the thoughts and emotions that we are feeling.

Finding a name for our emotional state, and recognizing that we are not defined by that emotion is truly a liberating experience.  We can feel anger without being defined by it, we can feel sadness without being defined by it.

On the flip side, spending some time noticing and recognizing our capacity for joy and lightness is also something that we should explore in our yoga practice.  In our time on the mat, we can spend time noticing the openness of the heart, how postures give us the space to recognize emotions and thoughts and provide us with the space to move through them.

Can you open yourself up to this discovery the next time you sit down on your mat?