As we mentioned last month, the physical body is the first sheath, or layer, in the Pancha Kosha model. This is where most people start their journey to wellness. The moment something hurts, or feels off physically, we notice. We often try to enact change, or at least think about the change we need to make. Sometimes it’s as simple as putting a band-aid on a wound. Other times it’s about removing foods that don’t agree with us from our daily diet.
The beginning of the year is often when many people stop and take stock of the state of their physical well being, but the truth is we can do this any time of the year. No matter when you’re reading this, if you’d like to take a short inventory and measure on how you’re doing physically, follow along below. Answer the questions and see if there’s a step forward you’d like to take.
Our go-to when we think about physical fitness.
- How is your physical fitness?
- How often do you do light activities such as walking?
- How often do you go and “workout”? Doing more intense exercise
- Are you happy with your current level of physical activity?
- Are you happy with your current level of fitness?
- Do you allow yourself a day off and time to rest and restore?
This directly affects the next kosha. Starting with a good relationship with food can help your overall energy levels.
- Do you eat regularly?
- Do you forget to eat meals?
- How often do you go out for a meal? Fast food? Sit down restaurants?
- How much do you drink? Water? Coffee? Alcohol? Soda? Juice?
- How balanced is your “diet”?
- Are you on a diet?
- If you’re on a diet how well do you stick to it?
- How satiated do you feel after a meal?
- At what pace do you eat? Slow or fast?
- Do you eat with distractions?
Relationship with the Physical Body
This is the “why” for what you answered above. The motivation behind your choices.
- What is your relationship with your body?
- Do you like how you look and feel?
- Are you striving to be something physically that you are currently not?
- How do your current actions support your current desires?
- How do these actions make you feel?
Basic physical maintenance seems intuitive, but sometimes we put extra importance on other areas in our lives.
- Do you regularly feel hydrated?
- Do you brush your hair daily?
- Do you brush and floss your teeth?
- Do you go to the doctor once a year for a routine check up?
- If you have a chronic health condition that requires daily medication, do you take it regularly? Do you talk to your doctor when you feel the current dosage isn’t working optimally?
- Are you up to date on your regular tests and health checks?
Often this is reflected in the answers above but could use its own exploration.
- Do you readily shower, groom yourself, and brush your teeth?
- Do you take time for yourself to relax and veg-out?
- How often do you go above and beyond the daily “self-care” tasks and get a massage, get a pedicure, take a bubble bath, etc?
- How important do you feel it is to take extra time for yourself?
This is just one step in the whole health approach yoga gives us. Notice I said “one step,” not “the first step.” Over the next few months we’ll continue to go over the other Koshas/sheaths and you may notice that they overlap a little, or there may be another sheath that’s more important for you to address first. Next month we’ll explore the second sheath Pranamaya Kosha – the energetic sheath.