What is whole being nourishment?

Welcome to the New Year Women’s Wellness challenge! If you’re not sure what this is all about read this post first. The first week of the challenge is all about whole being nourishment. When you think of nourishment, what comes to mind? Probably it’s food and that is definitely a good place to start but it isn’t the full picture!

The layers of your being

In yoga philosophy, a human is seen as not just a physical body but as 5 layers or koshas:

  1. Anamaya kosha (physical body)
  2. Pranamaya kosha (energetic/breath body)
  3. Manomaya kosha (emotional/mental body)
  4. Vijnanamaya kosha (intellectual/wisdom body)
  5. Anandamaya kosha (spiritual/bliss body)

Image credit: https://wellness-space.net/pancha-kosha/

The physical body is the solid material that makes up you: your bones, muscles, organs, nerves etc. This is the part that you can see and touch. It is also known as the food body as it is responsible for digesting and assimilating food into energy and for your survival instincts.

The energetic body is closely tied to the physical body and it represents the flow of energy, life force or prana which animates you. It is also known as the breath body as your breath and your life force are closely connected. We can nourish this layer through correct breathing or pranayama breath control.

The emotional or mental body represents what is often called the monkey mind or the mental chatter that you experience throughout the day. This is the limbic brain which is responsible for your likes, dislikes, feelings, fears, desires etc. which are responsible for most of your actions.

The intelligence or wisdom body is the higher part of your mind, your conscience, which is capable of rational thinking, making decisions, holding ethical values and creativity. If you pay attention, you can observe the difference between mental chatter and directed thoughts.

Finally, the spiritual or bliss body is the part of you which is most connected to yourself and all of nature. You access this body in moments of silence or awe when you move past the usual thinking and feeling state and time seems to stand still.

Whole being nourishment

These five layers or koshas make up your whole being. Nourishment is therefore about the body but also the mind and the soul or spirit. A major source of nourishment is of course food, and we will get to that very soon. But nourishment also comes from the thoughts you think, the air you breath, your feelings, actions, relationships, work, hobbies and everything that you experience through your five senses. You can eat the healthiest diet in the world but if the other elements are missing, you will never experience true wellness.

Throughout this week, and the whole of the wellness challenge, we will be focusing on different ways to nourish your whole being. The next three days will be about nourishing your physical and energetic bodies through healthy eating, joyful movement and good quality sleep. Following that we will introduce ways to nourish the mental and spiritual bodies which we will continue to expand on throughout the challenge. It is important to do it in this order as the energy you create through nourishing the physical body will feel into the other layers!

Focus on the feeling

Rather than focusing on the numbers (e.g. calories, weight) I invite you to keep the idea of nourishment in mind as you make lifestyle changes. Focusing on feeling good rather than on a particular outcome means that your motivation comes from within rather than on something external. This makes it much easier for you to stay committed because your lifestyle becomes a way for you to stay happy and energised instead of something that you struggle to keep up with when life gets tough.

This wellness challenge is about creating sustainable, supportive habits which you actually enjoy, not about punishing your body or following strict rules. I’m sure many of you, like me, have at some point in the past dieted or pushed yourself through extreme workouts to try to lose weight or look a certain way. But how long did this last? You can only maintain will power for so long and then what happens next? Your body starts to rebel and resist and you end up back to square one.

You cut calories or your favourite foods then end up binge eating because your body is starving and deprived. You go all in with an exercise regime and then get injured or exhausted and have to take weeks off. You lose weight and then gain it all back plus some. Instead of cycling between extremes, you want to find balance by creating simple and enjoyable habits that feel sustainable. This means it has to be a lifestyle which feels nourishing for all layers of your being.

Today’s challenge: Nourishing your body(S!)

Throughout the challenge I will be offering you activities to do or questions to reflect on. This is totally optional, but if you want to get the most out of this month and feel truly refreshed and recharged, I highly recommend it! Taking action is a way to integrate things that you read, hear and learn into your being. So grab yourself a notebook or journal to get started.

Today’s simple task is for you to make five lists, one for each of the layers of your being. Or if you prefer, you can simplify it to three lists: mind, body and spirit. In each list write down the things that nourish this part of your being. Some things might appear on more than one list, for example, eating fresh food will nourish your physical and your energetic bodies.

When you are finished, take 2 coloured pens and highlight:

a) The things that are already a regular part of your life

b) The things that you want more of in your life and commit to creating space for

If you are in the Moon Life Well Women Facebook group, feel free to share a photo of your list – I will be sharing mine!

Tomorrow we will be starting with the topic of healthy eating and nourishment through food.

Over to you…

  • Comment: Which layer of your being needs some extra nourishment right now?
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