The Koshas: An Easy Relaxation Technique for Busy Nurturers of People and Projects

Unless you’re living in an Ashram, we all need easy relaxation techniques that help us “press reset” in our lives without taking a lot of time out of our day.

When live gets so hectic we get disconnected from our center – who we are and what we want – and our actions can start to feel like we’re moving through mud: heavy, meaningless, and stuck.

And if you’re a mom, self-care probably has fallen away completely.

When we are caretaking others, we say goodbye to long, sweet, serene practices in beautiful hardwood floor yoga studios; wonderful spa days with long soaks and massages; or spontaneous outings with friends just sitting and talking.

Because they need us.

And even in those rare free moments, we rarely spend time or money on our ourselves.

So when life is enutty, easy relaxation techniques like this one are golden: quick, potent, and something do-able any time, anywhere we find ourselves with two minutes.

The Koshas: A Relaxation Technique for the Ages

Acccording to yoga, we are made of energetic layers, called koshas.  You can think of themrelaxation technique - kosha like concentric circles, with breath, or prana, being the vehicle that can take us through all of them to our center.

It’s why exercising, or doing breath work, can change the state of our body and mind. When we deepen our breath – think heavy breathing when you’re running – we are moving deeper through the Koshas.

On the outside is our physical body, or “food body” in Sanskrit. We are all food to someone… 

Next is our thinking/emotional body – most of us spend our day here, lost in thought, forgetting that we are bigger than what our limited brain can fathom.

Under that is our intuition and inner wisdom. I like to call this our “Inner GPS” – it’s how we know our next step on our most meaningful life path.

And at the center of it all: bliss, or anandamayakosha.

Just moving out of the kosha where we tend to spend the most time can feel like a huge shift – and change your whole day. If you do it once a day, it can change your life.

How Does This Relaxation Technique Work?

Most of us spend our days lost in thought.

Lengthening your breath can move you deeper, into your more intuitive, wise knowing.

Do this for a while, and you might even tap into a feeling of blissful, restful, peace. 

Bliss is pure awareness, or Consciousness.  When we’re embodying this part of ourselves, we remember how lucky we are to be here in this moment, in this moment, even with all the challenges we are facing.

We recognize the uniqueness of who we are.

And we might even have a sense of what we’re here on this earth to do.

And hen we tap in to this essence of who we are, we can come back to our day able to handle any conflict or hardship w, and we open ourselves to a lightness with more and a clarity about who we are and why we’re here.

Try these relaxation techniques at home:

For two minutes, sit, close your eyes, and lengthen your breath.

You can do this by counting – 6 inhale, 6 exhale… and then 8 and 8… 10 and 10….

Then, every time you have a thought, say gently in your mind “thinking.”

Who is saying “thinking”?

That’s your deeper wisdom talking.

That means you’ve moved yourself to a new place within yourself.

This part of you is the whole container of awareness, within which thoughts are arising, rather than the limiting thoughts themselves.

Keep going. Bring your awareness to the awareness itself, rather than the thoughts.

If you get lost in the nothingness and it feels nice – enjoy yoru moment of bliss.

My meditation teacher Paul Muller describes it this way: you settle down at the bottom of the ocean for a moment, where it’s quiet and peaceful.

Then, a thought takes you back up, and you continue gently bringing your awareness back to the space in between and under the thoughts.

relaxation technique - koshas

Here’s a bonus I’ve experienced: when you do the “thinking” technique, there’s a lasting effect. Throughout your day when you have a negative thought, you might just hear a voice in your head gently saying “thinking”.

It’s a wonderful reminder that your thoughts are not reality, and to snap back into enjoying the moment.

When I started doing this about 15 years ago, I was surprised that when my self-talk got negative, like “I’ll never be able to do that” or “god I sucked”, there was an automatic response: “thinking”.  And it was easier to came back to the open, limitless possibilities of the moment.

I hope this relaxation technique helps you realize there are other wonderful parts of you to spend time in besides thoughts

These layers are just as real, and have so many gifts waiting for you – and the world.

Thank you for spreading the Ma love!

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