From the Hatha Yoga Retreat "Embodying Insight" October 2014. Conducted by Swami Krishnapremananda and Madhuri
Course participant comments: "Madhuri and Krishnaprem delivered the intended course with great sensitivity and skill. Allowing for different levels of experience and emotional holding."
"I enjoyed the balance between practice and theory. I liked the Pranayama exercises very much and that there was a choice of strength exercises. I enjoyed the early morning Hatha Yoga combined with awareness exercises."
A Meditation with Swami Krishnapremananda on the Pancha Maya Koshas given during the Retreat
The inspiration for this practice comes from Swami Nishchalananda Saraswati.
Bring a spacious, relaxed yet alert attention to the practice.
Become aware of the physical body, the physical vehicle of your embodiment. Feel the contact between the base of the body and the ground… and the shape and position of the body in space. Take the awareness inside the body, sensing it from the inside. Sense the skeleton… the major organs… the heart beating… the channels of blood, nerve, lymph. Feel the physical sensations of the body – warm… cold… comfort… discomfort…openness… restriction. Feel the physicality of the body, created and sustained by the food you eat. It is a miracle, so complex yet so finely tuned. Feel the body, this vehicle through which we can experience manifest life.
Become aware of the breath, however and wherever you feel it. Notice the quality of the breath, it’s relative smoothness, quietude and depth. Be aware of the steady almost timeless rhythm of your breathing.
Be aware of the breath in the abdomen and watch the gentle movement of the breath.
Now expand this sensation to the whole body; feel that the whole body is breathing. Every cell of the body is breathing.
Begin to sense the pranamaya kosha extending through the whole body as a field of energy which also extends all around the physical body to an arbitrary distance of 12 finger widths. The physical body is seated within this more expansive field or cocoon of vitality. This pranamaya kosha is continually, in each moment, being nourished and sustained by the prana, or the life force within the breath.
Now become aware of the more subtle space of the mind: the field of thoughts, feelings, images and dreams at night. Continue to be aware of the steady rhythm of the breath but also be aware of the mind stream. Neither clinging, rejecting or choosing – spacious relaxed yet alert awareness. Thoughts… feelings… images…memories…passing like clouds across the sky like space of the mind. Simultaneously be aware of the clear blue sky through which these clouds are passing.
Continue to be aware of the mind stream and the vast sky like space beyond.
Simple observation of thoughts and feelings… letting them come… letting them go.
Allow self-images also to arise, ‘I am a mother, a father, a student, a teacher....’ Whatever the self-images may be, allow these images to come and to go. No need to give them the stamp of reality; be light with such images as they arise.
Continue to be aware of both the mind stream and the clear blue sky beyond.
And now identify completely with the clear blue sky, entering into the vigyanamaya kosha. Visualise an eagle flying in the clear blue sky. See its strong balanced wings and sense its poise and freedom. Become the eagle flying high and free… feel your easy and balanced flight, the air against your body and the vast space around you. With your all seeing gaze you can view the patterns of the personality in a very different context and of being of little consequence.
Know that you are free, unbound, undisturbed. The vast space of the clear blue sky all around you. Your all seeing gaze clear and bright.
Now see the shining sun, representing the anandamaya kosha, high above you, and direct your flight towards it. Fly ever higher towards the sun, as if being drawn into its very source. Fly yet higher… higher still… and feel the whole of your being being illuminated and infused with light and with joy... abundant light abundant joy. Feel that you are this scintillating light, this causeless joy, this shining sun…
Then there is simply radiance... Timeless, causeless, endless radiance....
And now be aware of the eagle once again, the clear blue sky around it. Become aware of the steady flow of the breath… and the arising once again of the mind stream. In this breath awareness begin to feel the outline, the shape and the weight of the physical body, and its contact with the ground. Be aware of where you are, the room in which you are seated, and any others around you. Be aware of sound perceptions from the external world and take your time to fully identify with your embodied existence before starting to move the body… and externalising your awareness.
Hari OM Tat Sat