The Everyday Mind

This week, we’re continuing our focus on Manomaya Kosha, the mental sheath.

In order to plant positive thoughts into the everyday mind, we first have to prepare the ground. Yoga offers many tools for calming the mind and releasing the weeds. We’ll begin this practice with the left hand on the heart and the right hand on the lower abdomen. This has a soothing effect on the busy mind. Let’s state an intention to keep the mind present and in good connection with the body and the breath throughout the class.

We meet the Tree of Life Breath, adding Ujjayi Pranayama to it. On to a balance with the leg extended out to the front. We’ll follow this with the Dancer’s Pose. Moving on to Parsvottonasana we”l practise backward bends and forward bends. After a pause, where we check that the mind is still totally present, we’ll go into a deep forward bend – Padahastasana. Let’s try that now with the shoulders rotated and the hands joined behind the back.

Returning to the mat through the squat, our next challenge is the Crow Pose. Then to Cat and the extreme Swan. This is the last week where we focus on this asana, so we’ll dwell on it a little.

Finishing with the Mermaid, we’ll proceed to cool-downs and a visualisation for meditation. This one is called ‘The Silent Boatmen’. Many folk find that guided imagery keeps their everyday mind engaged.

We’ll complete our practice with the 22 body part relaxation visiting each part of the body in order to relax it.

Half-term next week!

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Manomaya Kosha

We’re realising this term that we are made up of many layers. This week we move on to Manomaya Kosha – the mental sheath. This part of ourselves is brought into balance by the practices of meditation and chanting.

We’ll begin with thought-watching. Observing the everyday mind gives us an opportunity to understand it. Let’s plant the intention that we will keep the mind present throughout the class.

Our asana practice begins with the jelly-fish, where we’ll meet a gentle movement which calms the everyday mind and the nervous system. We’ll continue with the bridges, taking our time and keeping the mind present and connected to the body and the breath. After resting in the Goddess pose, we’ll practise more bridges before returning to the jelly-fish.

Let’s try some twists. We’ll keep the mind in the body and be totally aware in each movement.

Coming to sitting through the boat, we’ll move into the sequence swan – cat – dog. (Sequences really help us to keep the mind present and gentle.) Then move on to our challenge pose, the extreme swan. Is it getting easier??

Lying on the abdomen, we’ll work with cobra, locust and bow. Repeating the variation on the swan here will give us an opportunity to see how well we’ve increased the flexibility in the hips, lower back and shoulders.

Our pranayama technique is stepped inhalation, and we’ll repeat a mantra for the long relaxation – ‘I am relaxing my body’ on the in-breath, ‘I’m relaxing my mind’ on the out-breath.

The reading this week is taken from ‘Daily OM’ and the theme is Manomaya Kosha which falls into the category of the Spiritual Body.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Focusing on Pranamaya Kosha

For the second week we’re focusing on Pranamaya Kosha, the energy sheath. We are made of many layers and engaging with the energy sheath allows us to connect with the chakras, the wheels of energy, and the aura.

We’ll begin seated cross-legged for an attunement. Here we’ll run through the seed sounds of the chakras.

Lying for relaxation, we’ll become aware of the body breathing and the flow of prana (life-force) within us. After the stretches, we’re working with shoulderstand, plough, fish and the side-stretches. Moving through the boat we’ll approach our challenge pose, the variation on the swan.Then ┬áto standing through the dog, and it’s time for Salute to the Moon and a balance. Down through the squat and we’ll sit on meditation stools for the cool-downs and the Pranayama breathing technique, Sitali the cooling breath.

For the meditation we’ll work with the well-loved mantra, OM MANI PADME HUM, which we will count on our fingers.

And for the long relaxation we’ll focus on the solar plexus chakra while practising Surya Kriya.

The reading this week is taken from ‘Daily Om’. It reminds us to start each day in the heart chakra.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti