The Pancamaya model in yoga represents the 5 dimensions of our human system. This holistic model is why yoga works -- because when you change one of these dimensions, all of the others change as well. This is one of the reasons that I get a bit huffy when people shortchange yoga by calling it exercise. As you can see from the following listing of the mayas, they are ordered from gross to subtle. I've noted in parenthesis what practice works on each dimension. It just goes to show you -- it's not all about asana.
anamaya – physical
pranamaya – breath/energy
manomaya – intellect/mind
(education/learning, meditation and asana [both focus mind])
vijnanamaya – personality
anandamaya – emotions
If you want to make changes on the subtle levels, don't scrimp on the meditation and chanting. Yes, asana makes us feel good but the quieter practices of meditation and chanting can take us deeper and make deep, long-lasting changes in us.
If you're wanting to work the subtle with chanting, I suggest the following:
Incorporate chanting into your yoga practice. Let out an "om" while holding Warrior. Or chant So Hum while you're coming down into forward fold. Add Bija sounds to your practice not only feels good, but it's fun. Click here for more Bija sounds.
If you're in the DC area on January 19th, you can join Shiva Rea at Chant 4 Change, the Innaugural Kirtan Festival. Shiva will be joined by a host of talented musicians, including Jai Uttal, Dave Stringer, Gaura Vani & As Kindred Spirits, Saul David Raye, Daphne Tse, and Joshua Greene. Click here for more information and to order tickets.
This morning I did a Kundalini chant that I fully enjoyed. And speaking of enjoyment, I can't think of a better way to spend a snowy evening than to watch an installment of The Story of India on PBS. This fabulous series premiered on PBS earlier in the week but will be rebroadcast after the 6 installments are complete. Click here to see a schedule for your area. I've got my DV-R set for the series, as I don't want to miss a minute of this orgy for the mind. A big thank you to my friend Hannah for letting me know about this -- I wouldn't have know about it had she not sent me the link to the Web site. Now I'd like to share it with all of you. Enjoy!