Pancha Kosha, Nutrition and Wellness – Short talk @ Rajpath Club
Sunday talk at Rajpath Club was all about Nutrition and Wellness. The panel, besides me, inclded a Cardiologist and a Naturopath. While everyone spoke on food and nutrition for the physical body, I choose to open up everyone’s mind towards nurturing not just the physical body – but all our 5 bodies.
I have posted earlier also about Pancha kosha (Refer to the link and the picture for more details) – the 5 layers of existence that we have based on Taittreya Upanishad. These koshas are different layers of existence that we have – different vibrational frequencies or awareness levels.
For the 1st layer – the food sheath– we know enough already. Eating fresh food vs Frozen or eating at the right time in right proportion etc. Thanks to internet and the information overload we get all over (through social media as well) the awareness of this is very high and continues to grow. Eating fresh vs frozen and eating those foods which are least processed is something I try to follow. I avoid packaged food whose ingredients I don’t understand (esp chips, cookies etc). We have stopped using the microwave for last many years now (we used to use it mainly for reheating food) – preferring reheating by the traditional method over the gas in a kadhaai. Eating local seasonal fruits and veggies vs imported fancy fruits that come from cold storage is what I would also recommend. Our bodies are used to accepting what we have grown up with – our local regional foods are best for us. We are also trying to grow some vegetables on our terrace so that we (esp kids) understand the value of food and how difficult it is to grow. We cant meet our daily requirements from the terrace garden veggies, but we enjoy whatever we get and the taste is definitely different – organic, fresh and filled with our love and hard work!
There are many people (close to 10000) – known as Breatherians -around the world who don’t need any food to survive – they live a normal life like everyone else but without food for days, months and years. How do they manage??
Well, that brings us to the next sheath – the Pranamaya Kosha. This is our energetic field – our life force. These Breatherians have cracked the art of harnessing the solar and earth energies – so that they don’t require the energy from food! Their pranic field is so energized that they don’t need to energize the physical body with food – their energy requirement is taken care of. The Himalayan sages who also spend months and years going without food – I suspect do the same thing – harnessing the pranic energy – energizing the prana with pranayama practices and conserving this energy. Pranamaya kosha can be nurtured by doing pranayama practices (correctly – not learning from the tv or mass media) and also by being in touch with nature. Walking barefoot, gazing at the rising sun, spending time in nature – waterfalls, trees, rivers, forests – all give out –ve ions which also energize and clear up our Pranamaya kosha. Doing breathing practices in air-conditioned rooms is a clear NO NO. Walking for 15-20 mins barefoot energizes us and the earth cleans up our pranic body as well – absorbing all negativities. Those who practice yoga and pranayama for few years generally end up reducing their consumption of food slowly and gradually and also move to foods that are healthy for the body. Being in tune with the body helps eliminate unhealthy food choices automatically.
Our Manomaya kosha – consisting of our daily emotions, thoughts, fears and phobias also impacts our health and this needs to be nurtured as well! Thoughts impact our food – and this has been beautifully researched by the Japanese Scientist Dr Masaru Emoto – who observed that thoughts and emotions had deep impact on the particles of water. 70% of our body is water and most of our food also contains water. Saying a prayer before eating, and having positive thoughts while cooking ensures that the food is also energized. Nutrition for manomaya kosha is positive and happy thoughts, meditations, sound healing, regression therapy, hypnotherapy, prayers, satsang (company of positive and energetic people). Once this sheath is energized, our body accepts the food and nutrition in a much better way. Getting too caught up with the right ‘vitamins, proteins, carbs’ in our food and eating with fear (fear of becoming obese, fear of not getting nutrition, fear of getting infection, fear of digestive problems etc etc) doesn’t help at all. Loving our food and our body goes a long way in keeping our digestive system healthy! Treating food like a medicine (eating without liking the food or eating it because the dietitian says so, doesn’t help!
The Vijnanamaya kosha is all about our belief systems about food and health. Keeping this sheath healthy is of utmost importance. This is where our deep rooted impressions about our body and food are located. Beliefs like ‘Eating potatoes makes me fat’ or ‘Obesity runs in our family’ or ‘everyone in my family has constipation’ come from this kosha and it prevents us from truly enjoying our food and getting the real benefits from it. Working with the sub conscious mind and reprogramming the negative beliefs about food, weight, health etc helps. This sheath can be nurtured by positive reading, visualizations, meditations or related therapies. Many a times cleints have come to me saying that even though they are following the diet to the T (given by the most competent dietitian), and also doing their exercises with their personal trainers, they still are unable to lose weight! In such cases working with the belief systems or even past lives helps – since the body keeps the weight for reasons not obvious or logically known. The reasons could be going back to childhood memories, traumas, beliefs, or even past lives and causes of death in past life.
The Anandmaya kosha is nurtured by being happy, spending time being one with nature. Enjoying food and tuning in to the inner silence and bliss.
Hence we can see here that we need to really focus on not just nutrition for the physical body. Just like we exercise for our physical fitness, and do yoga for the fitness of other bodies, similarly we need to also work on nutrition for all the 5 bodies. By focusing only on physical body we don’t get to achieve holistic wellness and health.
Lastly, love ur food, know your food and grow your food!