I love language, always have. Since the days of high school when we were given essays to write in English class, I have enjoyed putting together words. I like the word play of alliteration and rhymes. And words to songs can be conjured up at a moment’s notice just for the fun of it or as a way of using the lyrics as response to something said in a conversation.
What most impressed me about the Koshas was the understanding that they can be used as a guide for cueing, particularly during restorative yoga. My role in guiding yogis during restorative practice is to assist them with finding deep relaxation. Part of this comes from the atmosphere I set in the room (gentle lighting, warm temperature, safe and pleasant surroundings), part of it comes from how I guide the setup (both the words used to explain how to arrange props and my assisting each person with the best placement of props for them), and part of it comes from how I use language to guide each person in finding their release. Cueing is all about the use of language.
Through my own experience taking restorative classes, I know that language can be a powerful guide to a deeper experience. The Koshas: 5 Layers of Being in Yoga International online offers an exploration for experiencing each of the Koshas. I copied and pasted the exploration into a document which can be read here and will record it so that I may experience the practice as a student.
I have taken numerous trainings with Jillian Pransky and in two of the manuals that she provides for students there are examples of cueing through the Koshas. Keep in mind these are meant as examples of the type of language that could be used for each Kosha.
Annamaya Kosha – the focus is on structural/physical alignment
Let your chest be supported by the bolster.
Feel the block underneath your hips and pelvis as you drop into the block.
Pranamaya Kosha – the focus is on the breath
Breathe into your lower back.
Feel your breath expand your ribs.
Manomaya Kosha – the focus is on an energetic tension release
Feel the space around your heart soften.
Allow the space within your heart to expand wide like the infinite sky.
Vijnamaya Kosha – the focus is on mental direction and support
Place your mind on your breath.
Follow your breath as it flows in and out.
Allow your thoughts to rise and fall without trying to grasp them.
If you notice your mind wandering, bring it back to the breath or the body’s sensation.
Anadamaya Kosha – the focus is on using guided imagery
You can read a little more about guided imagery in a prior post.