The end of 2014 is approaching and we will be teaching our last workshop before spring.
This Friday 28th of November from 18:30 till 20:30 at Insens
“ONE LOVE TWO TEACHERS”
Will take you through the focus of the month with heaps of love
and lots of care:
Dinner will follow at Helveg.
Should you join us for the workshop, do book your spot!*
The room is cosy and limited in numbers.
Also drop us an email if you are joining us for dinner:
Peace, Love, Greens and more Love
*Because we can only accept a limited number of participants, please note that your booking is firm and you will be billed for last minute cancelations. Thank you for your understanding.
The place is pretty cosy, so places are limited.We highly recommend booking your spot early. (Tel 022 347 15 15 / Email firstname.lastname@example.org)
See you there!
love, more love, and veggies.
« The ecological devastation of our planet can be traced to a single cause: raising animals for food. So if we stop participating in that animal agribusiness, we stop participating in the devastation of our environment on planet Earth » – Sharon Gannon
We recently watched cowspiracy in the comfort of our home. Here is Marc (not a vegetarian) ’s message about it:
« This is the most important, the most relevant and the most politically charged documentary film of our times. Everyone should watch it. Don’t wait »
Thank you for daring to care,
It’s Sunday, autumn and I am feeling lazy. I swung my practice nearer to noon than morning, had chocolate just after squeezing a lemon……. Oh BOY! I am a total chocolate junkie right now. I’ve been having chocolate before practice for the last couple of weeks, searching for a kick to uplift me throughout it.
In this season the body slows down just as nature goes into some kind of sleep. Trees retract their sap and all nature turns into an explosion of orange, red, rusty colours. I love the sight of it, a little less the chestnuts on the ground as I swish through parks with my bike….
As cold weather arrives, do you also feel like comfort food and sleep? What are you craving for? Rich soups and fried potatoes, chestnuts and pumpkins have been on my menu a lot. I tried making pumpkin soup with apples and safran instead of the classical coconut cream, curry… trust me, the alternative was so good!
Because today is quite chilly, I felt so happy to have taken the decision to not leave the house. Played some of my favourite records, listened to a dozen to times to “Entendre la forêt qui pousse” (hearing the forest grow, very seasonal) from Chapelier le fou. And, after my initial sugar fix, fruits followed a deep core floor practice then I suddenly got so excited at the idea of making my favourite pancakes, simple joys of cooking really uplift my mood.
The recipe I enjoy comes from the Post Punk kitchen blog, Isa is such an inspiration for turning the traditional unhealthy soul food into more ethical and wholesome dishes. These puffy pillow pancake’s will satisfy any serious comfort craving for the authentic american crepe!
I used egg replacer instead of the ground flax seeds and only incorporated one spoon of sugar since I pour more than enough maple syrup of them, also not being a vanilla fan, skipped that. Enjoy!
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup almond milk (or soy milk)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Peace, love and sugar*
If you are in town this weekend and haven’t yet made plans…. we have one for you!
Laruga Glaser is in Geneva, lucky we are to have her visit. Laruga teaches internationally and is most of the time on the road, her practice is outstanding and the lady shines from inside out! She is authorised by Sharath Jois, the Mysore Ashtanga Institute “Level II”
Friday 31st of Oct at INSENS 18:00-20:00 60chf
Saturday 1st of Nov at Soluna 9:00-12:00 and 14:00-17:00 130chf
Sunday 2nd of November at Soluna 9:00-12:00 and 14:00-17:00 130chf
FULL WEEKEND 280chf
For more details about the schedule, check the Babayoga’s website on the news page.
I hope to see you there!
Please sign up:
« My spiritual sister, Yogeswari, works tirelessly, has created Azahar foundation, and teachers yoga in all corners of the world, wherever terrible things are happening specifically as a result of war. She’s totally unafraid, and such an inspiration! She carries a library of book and a harmonium everywhere she travels (…) All the good flowing out of yoga centers encourages us to care. We want to care, but sometimes we forget, and so all these place are reminding us: Remember?
The goodness in the world conducts itself through these individual people and their communities. Goodness uses the people who are willing to be instruments of goodness.They live and they work in collaboration. There’s nothing egoistic about these individuals. It’s goodness, and goodness is eternal. It never dies. » ~ Ruth Lauer-Manenti, Sweeping the dust
We are all witnessing the power of Yoga every day and Azahar Foundation’s mission is to bring this wonderful tool to many more people, in particular to disadvantaged youth in the developing world and in post-conflict settings.
BREATHE IN YOGA – BREATHE OUT PEACE
On Saturday, November 15th, in the spirit of World Peace, we hope to unite yogis across the world to practice one class.
Brigitte De Picciotto is generously hosting the Yogathon .
In 2015, Azahar Foundation is stretching its activities to Rwanda. It is my great joy and a special honor to teach a jivamukti yoga class in support of this exciting new project.
Join us and be part of the Global AZAHAR YOGATHON Community.
Mayy eva mana adhatsva / mayi buddhim nivesaya /
nivasisyasi mayy eva / ata urdhvam na samsayah
Keep your mind on me alone, your intellect on me; thus you will dwell in me from now on.
In this age of struggle, known as the Kali Yuga, it can be very difficult to maintain a serene mind. Conflict between nations, conflict at work, conflict with enemies, conflict with friends, conflict at home, and even conflict within oneself can disturb one’s mind and destroy one’s happiness. It is common to be suspicious of someone who is happy and calm, thinking they must be ignorant, uneducated, living in a bubble or even mentally ill, and that to be an intelligent, caring human being one must be disturbed and filled with anxiety, and further that if you seek solace in spiritual practices you are an escapist living in denial and burying your head in the sand.
Buddhim or buddhi means “intelligence.” The highest and most important aspect of the intellect is its ability to grasp and understand the truth. Many people focus their minds on relative truth, that which is bound by the transient comings and goings of temporary existence, while the spiritual practitioner aims to comprehend or dwell in absolute truth. Absolute truth is knowledge of the supreme Self or God. Krishna in this verse from the Gita tells Arjuna that if he is able to focus his intelligence on Him, on God, then without a doubt (samsayah), he will gain access to the heart of God. God is Love. God is Great. With great love all is possible. To know God is to love God, and this is the yogi’s purpose. To realize that purpose one must devote their whole being to that aim. As Patanjali advises, Ishwara pranidhanad va (PYS 1.23), and for those who do, success will be guaranteed absolutely (va).
Chitta means the “content of the mind”—the mind’s intelligence—and prasad means “blessed.” A blessed mind is a serene mind. Because so much of the anxiety we experience seems to us to be caused by other people—they make us mad, they act in deceitful ways, they are unfair, they are unkind, and on and on—Patanjali tells us in chapter 1.33 of the Yoga Sutra that chitta prasadanam, or serenity, is our mind’s innate state. Hey, that’s good news! We should have faith in that truth and do all we can to protect that blessed condition from defilement. Patanjali gives some advice as to how to accomplish that: be happy for those who are happy, compassionate for those who are unhappy, delighted for those who are virtuous and indifferent to those who are wicked. If we choose to ignore this advice, we will become entrenched in our own negative emotions and be unable to remember God or devote ourselves to His service. Our intelligence will be consumed by anxiety, and we will be unable to enjoy anything in this world or in any other.
Finding fault with others is a sure way to disturb your mind and destroy your intelligence. When judgment of others arises, strive to let it go. Let God take care of things. If you remember that He is the supreme doer, you will be able to surrender and let go of your ego’s tendency to try to control the outcome of a situation. Your job is to protect the serenity of your mind. As my teacher Shri Brahmananda would say, “mind, your own business!” Follow the dictates of the yamas and relate to others with kindness, truthfulness, caring, respect and generosity. Rid your mind of the diseases of pride, envy, anger, laziness, lust, greed and gluttony. No one is saying that this is an easy task and that we can accomplish this alone, so to provide help in times of need we would be wise to contemplate the practical suggestions given to us by holy beings and do our best to put them into practice. Help is available in the form of satsang, and satsang can appear in the form of holy teachings written by holy beings, like the Bhagavad Gita, and the Yoga Sutra as well as contemporary teachers, like Shyamdas.
Another meaning of intelligence that I found in the dictionary is “secret information.” I think Shyamdas thought of intelligence like this when he spoke about the importance of protecting the most secret information, your devotional bhav: “The age of struggle has arrived and can destroy everyone’s intelligence. Be careful! This Kali Yuga can swindle you, so secure your devotional mind, guarding it like you would a precious jewel. Safeguard your bhava.” (Shiksha Patra 29.1, translated by Shyamdas and Vallabhdas). The Path of Grace outlines practical means to protect one’s chitta prasadanam: only eat prasad, food that has first been offered to God, and even water should be offered before drinking; keep good association (satsang); listen to accounts of Shri Krishna’s lilas; sing His praises and always chant the refuge mantra, Shri Krishna Sharanam Mama.
As you can see, there are many sources of holy advice. It seems like if we were able to incorporate at least some of these precious jewels offered by blessed beings into our daily lives, we could experience a little serenity during these difficult times. I certainly hope so!
FRIDAY THE 3rd of OCTOBER
SIGN UP SO WE CAN COOK
THE MOST RIDICULOUS OUTFIT
WILL HAVE FREE FOOD!
Hilarious, over the top, too bright, ridiculous, hippysh!!!!
From 18:30 till 21 come and have fun.
We will chant, laugh and dance,
Om, meditate, sweat….
Milène will play live, create the Bhav
As we will move you through our brisk tailor made hideous Jivamukti Practice,
BE READY TO LAUGH
Kwai will soothe your hunger and quench your thirst
Green veg shots and finger food is on the menu
At Soluna’s pop up Mocktail Bar after class.
Please kindly remember to bring change,
50chf for class
25chf for food and drink.
MANDATORY REGISTRATION BY EMAIL FOR MUNCHIES
Be there or be square!
September 21st, the largest march in history took place in NYC and many other cities around the globe.
Our friends from the Jivamukti Yoga School of NYC were there of course,
and many other vegan friends … walking the walk, and most importantly walking the talk.
With 7 billion people on the planet and 70 billion animals used for food, animal agriculture is number 1 cause of 51% all greenhouse gasses.
The most simple, cheapest and most efficient way to slow (or even reverse climate change) is at the end your fork : GO VEGAN.
Wanna read from The Cookie Devi (she attended the March)? Here you are !
More facts? http://cowspiracy.com/fact-check/
Thank you for daring to care!
In our prayers, we often ask for what we wish for.
The health we lost,
The departed love,
The wealth we don’t have…..
We frequently forget gratitude.
When ever you start wishing for something,
Flip that thought over and be thankful for what you have presently.
And why not give,
With no expectation in return, just knowing your gesture will do some good.
If you feel like giving a great amount or just the few coins you can afford, that you like sweating during a yoga class, come and support me taking a vinyasa flow class, moreover, support children and women in need in India. Friday 19th of September at INSENS, from 18:30 till 20:00. No need to be a member, the space and class is open to all. Brigitte De Picciotto has generously provided the space for the class to happen, I will happily spend that time with you.
Every little helps so I hope to see you there!
Following my teacher – Sharon Gannon – ‘s instructions, I am getting ready to prepare the prasad.
The recipe is simple… it is a simple recipe for joy.
Please spread the word to all the yogis at the Geneva Yoga and Music Festival : Prasad will be served tomorrow after the Jivamukti Yoga class (10.15 am – 12; Ecole des Pâquis)
Greetings to you all,
Presently in our office, which is Janine’s kitchen, I am trying to get started with the sequencing for our class for the yoga festival and my beloved sister is making food for the soul, this raw green soup from Sharonji’s cookbook “Simple Recipe’s for Joy“.
It seems like we can’t help ourselves mixing greens with wisdom as working….
Peace, Love and Green Soup*
Some festivals require wellington boots…. we go bare foot.
Some festivals advise a hat…. we take a mat.
Some festivals provide alcohol…. we do kombucha.
Some festival finish really late…. we start when you go to bed.
Some festivals feed you with fast food…. we eat slow wholeheartedly cooked vegetarian food.
So come and fill yourself with love and joy…..because we are going!!!!
“The Magic of Cooking” is the focus:
A dash of Dharma talk
An ounce of meditation
A spoonful of chanting
108 pounds of Vinyasa Flow
All this will be finely baked in the
Sunday the 14th of September from 10:15 am till 12:00
Come and have fun, join, gather, share the love. Our dear Daniji has struck again! If you’re in town or around….drop in and take a yoga spin!
Geneva Yoga and Music Festival, from the 10th till the 14th of September 2014
Beloved students, dear readers,
Summer never reached Geneva and is already drifting away, however the sun never leaves our hearts.
Everybody is going back to their schedule and we are still juggling with ours : frantic conversations, extensive reading, ad hoc typing, tea drinking, brainstorming, head scratching, taking notes, losing the taken notes, starting all over again, questioning and changing our minds often ….
Something is cooking here… stay tuned!
Peace, love and greens,
Welcome to the Shala of the Lovely Kristina Karitinou…
If one day you are passing by Crete, she is more than worth a visit!
Manjuji, you are so wise and so friendly,
thank you for continuously sharing the knowledge of the tradition*
“I don’t do cheese at home.” -…….
“I am looking for my Moola Bandha.” -Barbara
“If I didn’t do yoga I would be on valium now!” -Pauline
“I’m the kind of skip savasana person.” -Tanya
“Where should I feel the pain now?” -Manouri
On your tip toes creep in
With great care, walk through the Shala
Avoid the gracefully strong legs and arms in motion
Mind to not step on the fellow practitioner’s mats
Unroll yours as carefully as possible, soundlessly
Find stillness in Samastitihi
Hands in Anjali Mudra, bow and pray, invoke
Crickets, cucumbers, hot nights, crystal clear water, white, blue, turquoise, wild nature, creamy avocados, dill in outrageous quantities, more cucumbers, sun, tones of sun, laughs, cats, dozens of cats, practice, practice, again practice, share, talk, enjoy, swim, little sleep, many naps and start all over again!
The life is simple here, no cell phone, hardly no clothes, warmth and kindness is all you need and what you get on this fantastic island of Greek Gods, Crete. For the last couple of weeks, the few items I possessed to cook are one pan, a knife and a cup. I very much appreciate coming back to simplicity, no juicer, no oven, no blender…. it is all considerably raw and plain, but so tasty, just the essential.
I have ran into the cutest organic store ever, it doesn’t provide much, but again, I am right now very appreciative of the lack of choice. It makes everything so much more special!
All here is absolutely sun kissed! The sea, the scenery, the people and no need to mention the fruits and veggies. So grab a few greens, add your favourite “fava” as the locals would say, a touch of red, then squeeze some lemon, drizzle this taste explosion with the most exquisite olive oil and do not forget the heaps of fresh herbs! Enjoy*
From anger, strength arises
From sadness, softness
From tiredness, energy
From anxiety, serenity
From fear, confidence
From unrootedness, stability
From perplexity, clarity
From happiness, delight
Every day one has to compose with their feelings or emotions as hitting the mat. Twelve years down the road of asana practice I am still fascinated, if used in an appropriate way, how asana can shift for the best one’s mood.
My moods don’t swing as much as when I was younger and hadn’t yet discovered this beautiful tool of yoga, but I still have my ups and downs, my good and bad days, sad times…. Something happened the other day, and after the initial shock, the next daybreak I became pretty cross. I took my emotion, addressed it in order to not get overwhelmed by it and used it.
I ripped my mat that morning with my anger, until it cooled off and it did. My practice was simply fantastic, savasana still and blissful. I was amazed, once again in the shift of my mood. Rage and anger can be pretty destructive feelings, by if used positively one can benefit of huge amount of physical and mental strength, followed by release and maybe interesting achievements.
Look, observe, breath throurgh it and use it, what ever is going on. You can be victim of your emotions or overcome them by feeling them, welcoming them, embracing them, talking to them but don’t hold on to them! It takes a little experience to be able to observe and compose with it, but not that much… again, awareness is the key word. So flip that switch on and be the observer.
Enhance the beautiful also, learn to have fun during practice, smile and even laugh. Float through postures if ease is on the menu today. Find buoyancy and steadiness effortlessly using your positive mindset. Anything can grow in any way, a little will power and you’ll do wonders.
My mat is my shrink, my therapy, my friend, my consoler. Asana my salvation, my refuge. If badly started, my practice will get me through the day, if I got up with a big bright smile, which is most days, post mat time I hopscotch to my bike which I’ll ride to the class I am happily going to teach.
An urban setting,
A few Kind Souls,
Tons of laughter,
A touch of knowledge,
Heaps of will,
Many bold Colours,
One great vegan chef,
Some food for the soul,
A patchwork of patterns,
Big Bright Smiles….
The perfect blend for a marvellous evening*
IN GRATITUDE TO
NICOLAS FOR HOSTING US
CAROLINE FOR YOUR GENEROUS HELPING HAND
KWAI FOR COOKING OVER AND OVER AGAIN FOR US
OUR STUDENTS FOR BEING WHO YOU ARE
WE LOVE YOU ALL
Have you ever been to the Jivamuktea Cafe in NYC?…. if you had you would remember….mouth watering and energy packed savoury meals, scrumptious deserts and more than juicy juices. Jeanine and I love remembering the pleasure of savouring the dishes of the cafe and try to replicate them but a “je ne sais quoi” is sometimes lacking. YAY!!! It sounds like some of their famous recipes will be in Sharon Gannon’s new cookbook, we can’t wait to lay our hands on it.
Peace, love and green beans,
Despite all our religions, all of our twelve-step programs, all of our self-help books, our technology—I find it interesting that there is moral consideration given to some expressions of life and not for others…. And it reminds me of a quote from Leo Tolstoy, who said something to that effect: he said that as long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields. And I think that’s what he meant: as long as there’s an attitude of apathy toward a certain group, it will mirror itself in humanity – Shaun Monson
We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil. Serenity is contagious. If we smile at someone, he or she will smile back. And a smile costs nothing. We should plague everyone with joy. If we are to die in a minute, why not die happily, laughing? ~ Swami Satchidananda
… it is the most important co-product of the meat industry » – Stella McCartney
More information about leather tanning, which is highly toxic to humans, to groundwater and to the environment
« If we are buying and eating meat and dairy products, then the slaughterhouse workers, meat packers, and factory farm workers are all working for us. To live by violence and then to deny that you do is to live a lie. Living a lie causes a deep fissure in the human psyche. Yoga seeks to heal that fissure » – Sharon Gannon
We don’t have to contribute to this brutal industry.
In a coming blog post, I’ll share my tips on where to find fashionable and cruelty-free shoes & bags (of course, at affordable prices) … Stay tuned!
Thank you for daring to care,
YAY! It is SUMMER!
Swinging practices on wooden decks by the river, swimming in the river, no more tones of clothes to wash and dry, eating plenty of juicy local fruits and hanging out-doors with friends…. what more can you wish for?
I hope you are all enjoying lovely weather wherever you are.
Summer is a time for light food, popsicles, salads, raw food and more. I am sure you all have lovely recipes… what is your favourite summer dish?
Always searching for new ideas, I stumbled across The Green Kitchen Stories, it is such an inviting and inspiring blog. David and Luise even made really attractive short videos with their recipes. Though the blog is vegetarian but not all vegan, it is really easy to replace the ingredients with plant based ones, they also advise you for alternative and seem to avoid altogether gluten, BRILLIANT!
It is much, much more simple than one can imagine to replace all animal based products by plant based ones. I remember before being fully vegan over 20 years ago and struggling with finding good green recipes in Switzerland (nope, no internet at that time), buying regular cook books and just using tofu, tempeh or seitan to substitute the animal products. I do the same today with my old vegetarian cook books and just use soy yogurt, nut creams or egg replacer depending on what I have to exchange. Why not try out your favourite dish and turn it into a mindful plate….. be creative!
Ok, I have to dash….. I just watched this video, I have all the ingredients in the house and I cannot resist one minute more the temptation of this mousse…. Yes, that is my favourite dessert.
Love and sunshine to all*
Un petit billet en français… pour un vrai coup de coeur!
Hier soir, je lisais mon Elle (oui je lis Elle) et voilà qu’Elle suggère une liste de « green blogs » dont celui de Marie Laforêt (que je ne connaissais pas… shame on me)
La cerise sur le gâteau est son livre, VEGAN, tout juste sorti.
Les photos vont vous faire saliver.
Et le blog… 100% vegetal est fait pour le bonheur des yeux et des papilles.
Peace, love and vegan treats!
Jeanine ( qui sautille de bonheur)
I am nut for nuts ( all sorts of them) and I keep wondering how my life was before the vitamix.
I make daily smoothies, vegetal milks and this delicious cashew cream. The original recipe is from one of my favorite websites http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/cashew-cream/ – I make it almost every week.
- 1 cup raw cashews ( I soak them overnight, the original recipe says 4 hours)
- One organic lemon ( for a sour twist)
- Optional: himalayan salt, spices i.e. curry and cayenne pepper
Sometimes Angels take their life to put their children on a Spiritual path
Excerpt from the lyrics of the song « Sometimes Angels »
I met Jeffrey Rama Cohen for the first time at the Jivamukti Tribe Gathering in London, in 2010. It was then that I totally fell in mad love with the jivamukti yoga method.
Jeffrey-ji taught a wonderful class. He told us the story of a mythical phoenix and we closed in circle, in a powerful forgiveness ritual. There were tears and sweat. Laughter and joy. There was music. It was magical and mystical.
Ever since then, every year, I’ve had the good fortune to take classes with Jeffrey-ji; either when he tours Europe or at a Jivamukti Tribe Gathering or more recently at the Wild Woodstock Ashram. Jeffrey-ji is a truly rare human being… and now that I know more about him, through « sometimes angels », I am at loss with words. …But, unlike Joanna, I’ve never attended his signature rock’asana class!
This is what his website says about « Sometimes Angels » :
At age 12, Jeffrey Rama’s mother committed suicide. Before her passing, they shared an indelible bond that was filled with music, mysticism, complexity, but mostly love. “Every time I pick up a guitar I still feel like I am playing for her.”
And play guitar he did. Cutting his teeth in the 1990’s NYC East Village punk scene, rama went by a different moniker, coco, with the well-known band Clowns For Progress, making albums and getting to tour, playing every s@#t hole in America. During this time he began practicing yoga at fabled Jivamukti Yoga on 2nd Avenue.
Subsequent break-downs later, rama found dharma in the practice of yoga and became a teacher of some note, opening two Jivamukti Yoga Schools in Charleston, SC with his wife Andrea Boyd.
The rocker heart never sleeps as The Jais were formed featuring rama, churning out their own brand of rocking kirtan (call and response chanting), releasing the album, “Blow Horn”.
“Sometimes Angels” marks the first single release of a collection of songs to be released in late summer 2014. It is the album he was destined to make, drawing together the teachings of yoga and spirituality with the drive and fervor of timeless rock n’ roll.
As the venerable Swami Satchindanda has said, “with sound, we can make—and at the same time, break”. With this single, rama reached out and ask other suicide survivors if they would like to share a photo of them holding a picture of the one(s) they lost. The response was overwhelming and the video features of over 40 suicide survivors. The Sometimes Angels Project will continue to allow more suicide survivors to share their story of resilience and promise. A documentary is in the works.
The Bodies of the Self
“shravanadibhiruddhiptajñana gniparitapitah jivassarvamalammuktah svarnavad dyotate svayam”
“By hearing, thinking, and meditating, the light of the Self is kindled.
Once this light of Self is kindled, the individual “I” becomes free from all impurities and begins to shine forth as the universal “I,” in the same way as gold shines when it is purified by fire.”
It’s often said that “You are what you eat.” According to yoga philosophy the material substance of our physical body is made of the food that we eat, derived from the five elements of earth, water, fire, air and ether. In Sanskrit our material physical body is referred to as theannamayakosha. The word anna means “food.” But yoga reveals that we have four additional bodies: an energetic body (pranamayakosha), a body comprised of emotions and feelings (manomayakosha), an intellectual body (vijñanamaykosha) and an innermost subtle body comprised of bliss (anandamayakosha).
But even though we have five bodies, or koshas, they are still not who we really are; they are coverings that together make up our subjective experience of being alive. Our true Self is theatman, the eternal soul, and it lies hidden within these bodies. The five bodies form a vehicle for the soul and provide us with our unique individual identities, allowing us to share existence with other beings and to evolve our consciousness. All of our interactions with others affect all five of our bodies. Those interactions or relationships either hinder or support the revealing of the atman, the true Self.
Satchidananda—existence, knowledge and bliss—is the nature of the true Self, and it is this truth that underlies all manifestation. Through our karmas, by how we treat others as well as ourselves, we can cause that truth to be obscured. The yoga practices aim at purifying our perception of ourselves, others and ultimately God, by purifying the bodies that cover the Self, so that we will be able to see through the illusion of separateness. What separates our physical body from our spiritual essence is illusionary. The truth is that our spiritual self is more real than our physical self. We are spiritual beings having a physical experience, not the other way around. The life span of our physical bodies is short compared to the eternity of our true soul, which is immortal. Often people mistake physical existence for reality and refer to the spiritual as unreal. Actually that is upside down thinking. The spiritual reality is real and eternal, whereas physical reality is unreal and temporary.
The physical reality cannot exist without its underlying causes, which come from the more subtle realms of being. Every action that we take leaves an impression on our bodies. When those actions (karmas) are self-centered, we reinforce the sense of separation from the spiritual realm and can appear to ourselves as comprised only of dense, physical matter. When our actions come from a place of love and true other-centeredness, our physical bodies become lighter and more transparent, and awareness of our true nature shines through and illuminates all of our bodies.
When the dirt of ignorance (avidya) is removed from the bodies of the self the atman shines through. Yoga practices purify or cleanse the five bodies of avidya in particular ways. The annamayakosha, or physical body, is purified by a vegan diet, asanas, nadam and bhakti. The pranamayakosha, or energy body, is purified by kriyas, pranayama, asana, mudra, bandhas, nadam and bhakti. The manomayakosha, or emotional/feeling body, is purified by satsang, chanting, yamas, compassion, nadam and bhakti. The vijñanamayakosha, the intellectual body, is purified by satsang, chanting, niyamas, meditation, nadam and bhakti. The anandamayakosha, or bliss body, is purified by samadhi, joy, nadam and bhakti. In order to embark on this path of purification we have to intensely desire the knowledge of the Self, have a passionate yearning to know God and be willing to let go of what we think we know about reality.