Ayurvedic insight into selected yoga sutra’s:
The practice of focusing on the single truth is the means to prevent these distractions.
- Abhyasah – practice, working for the benefit of all living creatures
- Asah – sah is the same as sit and sown
- Abhy – epitomy, higher, moving right up till the end
What does focusing on a single truth have to do with Ayurveda?
Practice is defined differently depending on the lineage with which one is associated. Devotion to god, 8 limbs of yoga, mahamudra are a few of the names. In the context of Ayurveda the ultimate goal is the same as yoga; a connection with source. This is attained by a diet and lifestyle that brings balance to the body, mind and soul. By assessing the state of the kosha’s we can determine where the blockages are.
The Five Koshas
Consciousness is a light that shines through the different layers or sheaths of our organism. When the sheaths are clean then the light of consciousness is easily expressed in every area of our life. When these different koshas/sheathes are imbalanced then we must bring them back into balance. The layers of a human being extends beyond the apparent physical reality. These different planes of reality are created by different frequencies and our ability to process information allows us to access these layers. Ultimately the layers are not the end goal but they are the funnel that allows us to move closer to an experience of the part of us that is absolute and ever-present. This is what we call the multidimensional human being. The layers of our organism that our the sheaths around our soul. These are the five sheaths:
- AnnamayiKosha (Physical) – Physical Reality, Matter fields
- PranamayiKosha (Etheric) – Energy Field – Physical/Nonphysical Interface
- ManamayiKosha (Astral) – Astral Field or Transformation Field – Emotions and cognition
- Gyanamayi/VijnanamayaKosha (Causal) – Causal or Higher Transformation Field – Intuitive, archetypal, intellect and higher mind
- AnandamayaKosha (Spiritual) – Spiritual or Information Field – Spirit, Soul or angelic realm
It is important to remember that there is still a limitation within each sheath as they are all coverings over the true reality of our existence. In the causal and spiritual sheaths, the source of creation can be seen and experienced but there is still a sense of bondage to these dimensions. By understanding our relationship to what each sheath binds us to, we can begin to remove debris and distortion from the sheath and express the pure light within more completely. Based on the work of Zander Remete the sheaths bind us in the following ways
- Annamayakosha – The trap of food. Through purification we are no longer trapped by food, but instead it nourishes us in the deep ways we need in order to move into the other sheathes.
- Pranamayakosha – The trap of power. The regulation of energy in the body determines how powerfl we are. It uses prana, nadis, and chakras to transform thought into action which is where our power is experienced.
- Manomayakosha – The trap of processing mind. This is the sheath that must be purified in order to get insight into the nature of realitiy. It contains desire, memories, ego, and emotion.
- Vijnanamaya – The trap of intuitive intelligence. Often called intuition or the hearts knowing this sheath ecompasses pure intellect, understanding without emotion, intrinsic knowledge of good and bad. This is where access to the source begins.
- Anandamaya – The trap of joy. Source merges with its own power and out of that comes the emotional and physical bodies.
The ultimate goal of yoga is to become absorbed into the absolute reality beyond each one of these planes of existence. Each one of us has a constitutional disposition to be caught in a different trap. These tendencies are exacerbated by our habitual patterns. This is the essence of Triguna. When our actions are motivated by Sattva we are less likely to be caught in each of these traps. If however our consciousness is motivated by Rajas or Tamas we will fall prey to the bondage that each trap implies. By becoming aware of the tendency one can be responsive and escape from the traps that keep them from their deeper needs.
Eventually the fields may be brought under voluntary control.
This does not mean that the activity is imposed by the mind. The control can only be achieved by uncovering the natural patterns of subtle motion within the physical form. When this takes place, then Samadhi becomes possible.
A way of life that promotes balance in all five koshas focuses our life towards one pursuit. The word sacred comes from the same root as sacrifice. It is not that we are sacrificing anything but that as our focus and concentration on the goal becomes more refined and we let go of anything that does not fit within that spectrum. We are not truly giving up anything but instead the meaning and purpose we derive from our one pointed focus makes us feel full. Through this fullness we begin to orient our focus so that our entire life is an act of worship that is ultimately for the benefit of all creatures.