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“As long as there is breath in the body, there is life. When breath departs, so does life. Therefore, regulate the breath.”

Nath Yogi Swatmarama, yogic sage, author of Light on Hatha Yoga

Studying yoga has had a profound effect on my work as a medical intuitive healer.

Aside from the obvious benefit of keeping myself physically healthy, calm and grounded, the way that yogis look at a body has totally transformed the way I consider a human being.

There are five levels of your body. 

In yoga, we refer to these five levels as your koshas, or sheaths.

A good way to visualize this is to remember a Russian doll.

There will be a larger Russian doll on the outside encasing any number of smaller Russian dolls on the inside. 

You lift the top off to remove one casing to reveal another version looking similar but different before finally coming to a smaller, whole doll without any divisions. 

And so it is with your koshas.

Your five koshas include:

Annamayakohsa. Your physical body includes your organs, bones, blood and everything you consider solid. This is what most people think of when they think of their body, but the way I look at you goes far beyond your material body. 

Pranamayakosha. Your energy body includes the bioenergetic field surrounding your physical body.  This includes your chakras, the acupuncture system and your breath. Your pranamayakosha infuses your physical body with life force.

Manomayakosha. Your emotional body. This is actually the largest part of you. You actually store emotions in your organs, muscles and throughout your physical body. Your emotional body is so powerful it can shut down or affect the functioning of any physical process. That’s why resolving the emotions that have been bothering you is essential to your long-term wellbeing. Sigmund Freud said it best, “Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.”

Vijnamayakosha. Your mental body. This is the seat of your ego, your wisdom and judgment. This is where you hold your thoughts, opinions and beliefs. Your mind tells you a story about your life. This story either heals you or kills you. With discrimination, you can direct your mind to think in ways that bring balance, inner peace and calmness to the rest of your being. 

Anandamayakosha. Your spiritual body. This is the part of you beyond all space and time. Your soul existed before you were incarnated into your physical body in this lifetime and will continue to exist once what you think of as your body has passed away. Eternal, transcendent and naturally blissful, your spirit directs your entire life experience. As you discover your soul purpose the rest of your life begins to make more sense. Challenges become easier to endure. You develop tenacity, equanimity and feel at one with all that is.

Now let’s go back to your pranamayakosha.

Once you understand that your energy body controls the amount of life force that flows through your physical body, you will want to do everything in your power to maintain a healthy level of chi.

Your chi level is so important that’s the first thing I look at when I do a medical intuitive reading.

When you have a high level of chi, that’s the equivalent of having a good savings account at the bank. 

You may be exposed to viruses, bad bacteria or any manner of accidents or other illnesses, but when you maintain good personal chi your physical body can recover quickly and easily.

You can also think of your pranamayakosha as the energetic blueprint that creates your physical reality. 

An imbalance in your energy body will eventually filter down to a disturbance in your physical body. 

That’s because all illness and disease begins in our energy field, filters from the spiritual into the mental into the emotional into the energy body and finally into your physical body.

When you heal, you push the disturbance out of your physical body, through your energy body, emotional and mental processes and out through your soul level. 

If you get stuck by neglecting or overlooking any of your five bodies you delay your healing process or you may never fully recover. 

Breathing exercises are some of the simplest ways to regulate the level of prana through your energy body.

I recommend them because these natural healing remedies are available to you anytime, anywhere – no drugs, no natural healing remedy, no practitioner required. 

You can breathe through emotional energies that you have stuck anywhere in your being even if you are not consciously aware of the traumas you are releasing.

Your breath is the cheapest, easiest most accessible power tool you have at your disposal to increase your life force.

As you learn to regulate your breath, you can calm your mind when you feel too hyper or turn up your physical energy level when you feel exhausted.

As you breathe, not only do you engage your respiratory system, you also balance the flow or energy through your chakras.

You have seven major chakras that correspond to seven major endocrine glands. 

Balancing your chakras by regulating the flow of breath can have profound beneficial effects on your entire mental, physical and emotional well being.

Your breath flows to your chakras through invisible energy channels known as nadis.

Experts dispute the precise number of nadis in your body – anywhere from 72,000 to 350,000 – but they all agree these subtle energy flows originate in your navel.

Three of the major nadis include your Ida, Pingala and Sushumna.

Ida. Your ida ends in your left nostril and your left lung. It corresponds with the lunar, yin energies in your body and the right side of your brain. When you breathe primarily out of your left nostril, you activate your parasympathetic nervous system. You become more passive and more internally focused. Your body temperature, blood pressure, cortisol and testosterone levels decrease. 

Pingala. Your pingala ends in your right nostril and your right lung. It corresponds with the solar, yang energies in your body and corresponds with the left side of your brain. When you breathe primarily out of your right nostril, you activate your sympathetic nervous system. You become more active and focused on the external world. Your body temperature, cortisol, testosterone, blood pressure and heart rate increases. 

Sushumna. Your sushumna corresponds with your spinal cord. It is the central axis of your energy body and is your most important nadi. Energy runs from the base of your spine through the crown of your head through your sushumna.  

When you are healthy, you alternate your nostril dominance every two to two and a half hours. Part of what keeps you healthy is your chronobiology, maintaining healthy rhythms in your body. 

However, when you become unhealthy, you may breathe primarily out of one nostril or the other and that may indicate an imbalance in your nervous system.

When you become stuck in your parasympathetic nervous system you may feel exhausted and depressed.

When you become stuck in your sympathetic nervous system you may feel wired and anxious.

As we practice breathe deeply through both nostrils, we balance the two sides of our nervous system and produce an inner state of equanimity in our energy body. 

This corresponds with an increased flow of prana throughout your physical body as well as a feeling of calmness, clear headedness and inner peace.

Disturbances in your breathing patterns may lead to anxiety, depression, insomnia, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, difficulties losing weight and many other conditions.

To learn how you can breathe properly, set up an appointment today with Catherine Carrigan by calling 678-612-8816 or emailing catherine@catherinecarrigan.com. Catherine Carrigan has taught yoga and breath work for the past 24 years. 

Learn why your current breathing patterns may have been holding you back from feeling the way you want to feel. 

What is healing? Healing happens when you learn how to breathe. 

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