Purifying your physical body

This post is the third in a series. Check out Spanda – moving from disconnection to connection and Tamas and Rajas – the seed of inspiration sprouts first!

18426384_10155350769549533_875243563_oI believe that during this journey out of the darkness and into the light – out of delusion and into reality – we must work on purifying the three outer layers of our being, the three koshas or ‘sheaths’. Think of the Russian Babushka dolls, we must purify the three outer dolls in order for the inner doll to see clearly.

The first layer we look to purify is annamaya kosha or the physical body. We must first purify the physical form in order to move deeper through the layers. As we work through each layer we move closer to our state of connection and trust.

The physical body includes our blood, bone and muscles. We must incorporate proper food and diet, skeletal integrity, muscle and fascia in our purification. Our aim is holistic health, a balanced body.

Swami Sivananda condensed the essence of yoga into five principles. The first being proper exercise. Proper exercise is all about balance. Balance between the upper and lower body. The right and left. The front and back. Balance between strength and flexibility.

Daily Rituals

Proper exercise

Think about what works for you and your body – proper exercise will look different for each of us. Consider where your health is right at this moment: your muscle and fat percentages; your lung capacity; your current exercise routine; your resting heart rate; and your biological age. Your health professional should be able to help you understand these things better.

I believe that yoga and Pilates are the perfect combination of exercises for a balanced body. But be realistic in your intentions. Maybe right now it’s just about taking the stairs instead of the elevator, standing while answering emails or taking a ‘walking meeting’.

Proper diet

Swami Sivananda’s second principle of yoga was proper diet. But with so many different diets how do you know what is the proper diet for you?

Part of this is about experimenting and testing what foods do work for you and what don’t. You can get an allergy or blood test to find out if you have any sensitivities. Treat it as your very own science experiment.

From my perspective, processed and packaged foods don’t fit in a proper diet. My philosophy is: if it’s whole and from the earth, that’s usually going to work. But of course it always comes back to what personally works for you and your body type.

As with exercise, proper diet has to be realistic and sustainable. Try ‘crowding out’ in the first instance. Eat so much of the good stuff that you’re too full eat the bad stuff!

Once we’ve done the work on purifying the physical body, or annamaya kosha, we turn further inwards to work on prana-maya kosha, your energetic body. This is the layer you’re working on if you visit an acupuncturist or homeopath.


In the next post of the series we’ll move onto purifying the energetic body, including more daily rituals you add to your own routine.