The energetic road map to self care



It seems simple enough to practice “self-care” in theory.  There are many ways to care for one’s own well being, which might point to why it’s easy to put it off – after the house is clean, the project is complete, the kids are older, or when we can make the time.

I love to view the process of self care simplified – without parameters or expectations – stripped of complexity.  Putting plants into the dirt, taking five minutes to sit in silence and breathe, chopping vegetables, singing a song, a few sun salutations and short relaxation (savasana) if you don’t have time for yoga class or a long home practice, time with beloveds to do absolutely nothing:  these short practices can relieve the expectations of what self-care looks like and make the act of navigating life’s whitewater smoother, healthier, and completely sustainable.

Within the philosophy of yoga and its sister science, Ayurveda, we have been offered a road map connecting mind, body, and spirit.  The Self resides within the heart and radiates outward.  Visualize this as five concentric circles originating in the heart and expanding out into the space around the physical body.  It may sound abstract, but these layers, or Koshas, exist in all living beings and outline the path to the ultimate outcome of self care:  bliss.


Pancha Koshas:  The Five Layers of the Energetic Body


  1.  The Physical Body (Anamayakosha)

This aspect of our energetic road map addresses the basics of self care for our physical body.    It represents our actual flesh and bones and is activated when nourishing ourselves through healthy diet, positive lifestyle choices, movement, and therapy.  Eating whole foods, enjoying indulgences in moderation, taking walks, running, practicing yoga, enjoying massage and chiropractic adjustments, and gardening represent some examples of the many ways to pierce this first layer of the Koshas.  Earth is the element associated with Anamayakosha.

Ayurvedic wisdom includes feeding one's body with healing foods.

Feeding one’s body with healing foods is part of the first kosha.


  1.  The Breath Body (Pranamayakosha)  

This layer is like the gatekeeper to the subtle body.  It bridges the divide from flesh to consciousness.  The element of Water is associated with this layer, and to stir up stagnant water, movement must occur.  The breath is this movement within us, stirring up places inside that have become “stuck”.  Take some time to enjoy deep, even breaths or practice yogic breathing techniques like nadi shodhana and kappalabhati.  Pranayama is the sanskrit term for these practices, and there are many online resources to guide you at home 

  1.  The Mental/Emotional Body (Manomayakosha)

Now that the physical and breath body layers have been tended, the thinking mind can be addressed.  The element related to this layer is Fire, and this Fire represents the thinking mind; the Fire of your thoughts.  Here is where we ask ourselves the big questions:  What is my path?  What will I be?  Where am I going?  Find direction in this thinking mind layer through mantra- repetition of words that have meaning to you as intention or devotion.  What thoughts and words enable you to care for yourself in a way that generates positive relationships to the world around you?

  1. The Intuitive/Wisdom Body (Vijnanamayakosha)

This is the voice inside your heart that bears listening to.  It is associated with the element of Air, which is also the element of the heart chakra.  Once the thinking mind has been directed, true wisdom begins to arise.  Think of this state of being as who you really are when no one is looking.

  1.  The Bliss Body (Anandamayakosha)

The four layers have aligned, and a fleeting experience of complete stillness, comfort, and divinity happens here.  You might feel overcome with love.  This can happen spontaneously, like when giving birth or falling in love, or within deep meditation.  I experienced Anandamayakosha when nursing my daughter.  Space is the element of this layer. Here, you realize your true Self.The first three layers of this energetic road map, the Pancha Koshas, involve many of the services that have been offered as a part of “Abundance Self-Care Month”.  Life doesn’t come with many instructions, but wisdom that is thousands of years old tells us this:  nurture your body, breathe deeply, think positively and speak with intention, listen to your heart’s wisdom, and true bliss will follow.


Win five free yoga classes!

Katie has generously donated a full five-week session of her challenging Prana Vinyasa Flow yoga classes, at the Joy of Movement, as part of Abundance NC Self Care Month.  Enter to win this amazing opportunity by commenting below or on our Self Care Month post.


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The energetic road map to self care

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Upcoming workshops + events


Sustainability Tour of our Eco-Industrial Park


Come visit and see a working sustainable biodiesel plant, a sustainable agriculture farm, vermiculture, a biodiversity garden, a green building model, an organic local food distributor, a huge solar array with shade-tolerant plants growing underneath it, a micro-distillery, and an organic pesticide/herbicide manufacturer, and much more!

SUMMER pecha-kucha-night

Summer Pecha Kucha Night 2015

A Quarterly Storytelling Event
JUN 2, 6 – 8:30 PM:

Pecha Kucha brings people together to present and discuss new ideas around sustainability topics. Presenters each have 20 slides and 20 seconds per slide to discuss. Slides are automatically timed to be exactly 20 seconds with the total time for each presenter is 6 minutes and 40 seconds. This keeps the pace fun & exciting…

Lupine Productions June 7 to Benefit Abundance NC

Concerts for a Cause to Benefit ABUNDANCE NC!

Concert for a Cause
with Hiss Golden Messenger & Justin Fedor•
JUN 7, 5 PM – 9 PM:

You’ll be dancing to Hiss Golden Messenger and Justin Fedor, all while supporting Abundance NC! Our mission is to build strong, resilient communities. We aim to be a hub of sustainability and local economy in central North Carolina, sourcing out the abundant local and sustainable resources, and supporting the people who are making those resources available……


Bikes & Barnyards! Summer Camp

A Youth Camp
with Triangle Bikeworks •
JUNE 15 thru JUNE 19, 8 AM – 5 PM:

If you are a beginning to intermediate level cyclist between ages 10 and 14 who loves to ride your bike and challenge yourself while learning new skills and having a blast….


Drink ‘n Thinks: Session Two – Tiki Picnic

A DIY Sustainability Workshop
JUN 21, 6 PM – 8 PM:

We’ll delve into post-WW II Tiki Culture, an American design motif applied to stylized bars, backyards, and the elaborate drinks consumed there. Soldiers returning from the Pacific after WW II associated tiki culture with a freer, less repressed lifestyle…..


Drink ‘n Thinks: Session Three – Vinyl & Cocktail

A DIY Sustainability Workshop
July 19, 6 PM – 8 PM:

Interspersing commentary with original music, sipping, and storytelling we’ll reenact one of the most hospitable conventions of the American mid-century. Vinyl and cocktails became almost inseparable by the mid-twentieth-century……

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