Weekly Series: Journey Through the Koshas/Part 4: The Mental-Emotional Body (Manomayakosha)

In Yoga Nidra Meditation, we take a journey through the layers of our being, in order to reach the very center of the Self, our embodied Soul, thereby inviting and allowing healing and transformation to occur.  Each week in September, we are exploring the five Koshas, or sheaths, which describe every layer of our being, from the outside in.  Through this perspective, we may bring body, breath, mind, wisdom, and spirit into harmony.  This week, we will explore the Mental-Emotional body, or Manomaya Kosha.

Often our minds are as busy as rush-hour traffic, running over "to-do lists," planning ahead, responding to outer stimuli, ruminating over past experiences, taking care of our feelings, worrying about the future, even worrying about worrying!  The thinking mind, as well as the unconscious mind, sense organs, emotions, and core beliefs are all embodied in the Manomaya Kosha.  Given the complexities of our conscious and unconscious minds, it's no surprise that many people find it difficult to reach a state of "quiet" in the mind and therefore believe that they are "unable" to meditate.

The interesting thing about Yoga Nidra meditation, is that the guide can help you to engage the mind in order to delve deeper in order to reduce or eliminate limiting beliefs and habitual thought patterns.  We do so in a few different ways.

Early on in Yoga Nidra meditation practice, we develop an intention, or Sankalpa as it is known.  We formulate a positive statement in the present tense, so that it already feels like and is the truth.  Sankalpa speaks directly to the unconscious mind, the place where change takes root, in that the intention becomes a seed you are planting.  When we state our Sankalpa to ourselves, we are also stating it to the universe, beginning to align it to reality.  We can manifest our own reality through this intention-setting practice.  Even if our conscious mind doesn't fully buy into the intention, our much more receptive subconscious mind does!  In time, there comes a sense of both minds coming together into the truth of the statement.

At another stage in Yoga Nidra meditation practice, we explore opposites, both in sensation and emotion.  When we involve experiencing a sensation/emotion and then invoking its opposite, we can learn things about the other that we may not be aware of when only thinking of one.  The opposites may bring clarity to one another, thereby freeing one another.  When we can experience the opposites, and then try to experience both at the same time, we come to realize that the opposites actually neutralize each other and a sense of equanimity arises.  Here is where limiting beliefs can dissipate, inviting fresh perspective and change.

Lastly, at any time during Yoga Nidra meditation practice, difficult emotions and sensations can arise.  It's natural to want to resist the feeling, and we do that often in our waking lives in order to survive the day.  However, when we push away our feelings, we begin to separate from our innate wholeness.  Repressed feelings eventually will bubble up, forcing us to take notice.  In Yoga Nidra meditation, we allow these feelings, however uncomfortable, to arise, so that we can observe it and be fully present with it without judging it.  We learn to anchor to what does not change-- our true Self-- rather than become agitated by the feelings.  In this way, the power of the emotion or sensation can be reduced or even eliminated, inviting reconnection, balance, and healing to the emotional, energy, and physical bodies.

Next week, we will explore the Wisdom-Intuitive Body, Vijnanamaya Kosha.

I am always thrilled to share the practice of Yoga Nidra meditation, for I believe that all beings deserve to experience feelings of universal oneness and bliss.  You are always welcome to contact me with questions, and of course, to experience firsthand the benefits of Yoga Nidra meditation with me.