Have you ever met someone who goes to the gym every day, makes great strides in physical health, gets strong and conditioned, but has low energy? Or who isn't happy on the inside?

 

While physical health is the most fundamental expression of well being, it is only one part of the puzzle. In yoga, we honor five distinct but interconnected bodies. These are called the koshas, or sheaths of our self. Underlying all these sheaths, our true nature dwells. Each of the layers is important to our self-happiness and self-understanding.

 
For your Work-In this week, explore your self-care through this five-part lens. Time to get out your journal!
 

Step 1: Journaling

 
 
Print a copy of this wheel and attach it to a journal page, or draw your own version. With the wheel in front of you, give yourself a wellness score for each of your five bodies. Place a dot or circle on the level, one through five, which you have chosen within each given pie piece.
 
Use these questions to help generate your score. As always, be honest in answering the questions and calculating your scores. It is only through this honesty that you can truly evaluate the life you are creating. 
 

Physical Body (Annamaya Kosha)

  1. Name five adjectives to describe your physical body. How do you feel about these words?
  2. Imagine your perfect physical health. How far are you from this vision?
  3. List foods that make you feel strong, centered, and clear. Do you eat these foods enough? Conversely, list foods that make you feel blocked, lazy, or bloated. Do you eat these foods too much?
 

Energetic or Vital Body (Pranamaya Kosha)

  1. How is your energy level when you wake up in the morning? Do you feel crashes throughout the day, or are you generally vibrant?
  2. How is your breathing - right now? Are you aware of the quality of your breath throughout the day?
  3. When you are done with your workout, do you feel depleted or clear and ready for the rest of your day?
 

Mind Body (Manomaya Kosha)

  1. How often throughout the day do you relive negative past events or dread future challenges?
  2. When you are engaged in a challenging task, what is the quality of your mind-speak? Do you feel mentally strong enough to face any challenge, or do you feel you talk yourself out of things your body may be capable of doing?
  3. Are you able to sit in silence?
 
 

Wisdom Body (Vijnanamaya Kosha)

  1. Do you engage in regular self-study? Just as you go to the gym to improve physically, do you work daily to improve yourself?
  2. Are you connected with memories that no longer serve you? Or, do you use your experiences to build a better life?
  3. How often do you willingly engage in activities that challenge your belief system? Are you open to debate and education on a topic you have already formed an opinion on?
 

Bliss Body (Ananadamaya Kosha)

  1. Do you crave excitement in your life to have fun, or can you find pleasure in simple activities?
  2. Do you engage in dancing, singing, playing, or creative self-expression? Do you feel comfortable when you are asked to "let go" in this way?
  3. How do you worship the Higher Power of your understanding? Is time for meditation, prayer, or worship missing in your life?
 
Now, use a writing utensil to connect the dots. How does your circle look? Is it lopsided or relatively well rounded? Is it big or shrunken? I hope you have learned something about how you are working to balance your life.
 
I grew up playing baseball, soccer, and running track. I spent time engaged in physical fitness every day from the time I was three or four through my collegiate soccer career. When I stopped playing soccer due to a debilitating knee surgery, I was faced with the harsh reality that I never took time to care for the rest of my being. My identity was wholly wrapped up in my physical abilities.
 
So now, each time I come to my yoga mat or lace up my running shoes, I remind myself this could be my last day as a healthy person. Anything can happen. I could need knee surgery again, or worse. I remind myself to remain dedicated to enhancing all parts of my being so I am healthy, happy, and holy regardless of my physical abilities.
 
Next week, we'll look at ways to build up the five bodies. Share something that surprised you about your whole body circle in the comments, and I will be sure to address it next week. 
 
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