“As a temple or a church is kept clean each day, the inner body, the temple of the soul, should be bathed with a copious supply of blood through asanas and pranayama. They cleanse the body physically, psychologically and intellectually. The body, having its own intelligence, develops its potential to change its behavioral patterns.” – BKS Iyengar: commentary of Patanjali’s sutra 11.40
The miraculous process of asana (yoga postures) and pranayama (breath work) not only restore physical vitality and equilibrium, but provide the field for our ingrained responses to arise, become known, and dissolved. These patterns, which are rooted in the past, block us from healing and the contentment of integration. When we cleanse away the built up layers inside the light within can shine out clear and bright.
Specific asanas help to facilitate this detoxification process. Gentle twists and restorative inversions can be powerful allies for us amidst our often hectic lives. The cleansing, calming effects of working with exhalation is another way to clear out physical tension as well as anxiety, fear, fatigue, and emotional blockage or heaviness.
These practices cleanse us through all five layers of our being, known in yoga as koshas. The anna maya kosha, the physical body, becomes rejuvenated and restful. The prana maya kosha, the energetic body, is unveiled through the breath and the emotions stabilize. The manomaya kosha, the mental body, draws inward and the “monkey mind” becomes still. The vijnana maya kosha, the intellect, settles to allow possibilities, tranquility and peace to rise to the surface. And finally, the ananda maya kosha, the vast container for bliss, is revealed. Within our committed practice of yoga resides the discovery of our ability to deeply relax and release burdens of the past.
Yoga for Mind-Body Detoxification
by Avery Kalapa