Pre Immersion Ground Work

Hi. Welcome to the immersion before the immersion, to the work before the work of our 10 Day Self Care Challenge.
Where we are going in this immersion is deep. How do we get there? How can we, as "Ravi Ravindra writes in The Wisdom of the Yoga Sutras “withstand the truth” in addition to understand it? With daily care and nourishment of all of your selves, the koshas or layers of self. The practical and the mystical depend on each other. To become comfortable exploring the mystery of the cosmos, we must find comfort in our literal skin and create an intimacy with our eco-system.

The Basics

“Take care of you.” This mantra, courtesy of Kit from the movie Pretty Woman, says it all. You need to take good care while walking this earth. Find the teachers, find the mantras, and find the nourishment in your daily routine. There are sages all around us, in songs, packages of tea, and Trader Joe’s parking lots. Their messages can ground us, guide us, remind us that we are never alone if we listen.
What you do everyday matters more than what you do every once in awhile. What you do everyday, you become. When we nourish ourselves every day, we become prepared for the depths of practice as well as the challenges of life.

The Specifics

The groundwork for our work together in the immersion depends on a foundation of daily practices that nourish and fortify you. As I mentioned, I like to use the koshas as a map, moving from the gross to the subtle to the gross and back again. For context, let’s review the koshas:
  • Annamaya kosha: Your physical body, literally your food body. This is the realm of the earth and water within you. Your dense parts. Your muscles, bones, connective tissue, organs, etc. What are you feeding your physical body? Can you practice a consciousness around what you put in and on your body? How about your movement practice? What is it? Does it fortify you? Does it bring you joy?
  • Pranamaya kosha: Your subtle body, your vitality body or prana. This is the realm of your life force that governs function and growth - respiration, digestion, circulation, etc. The elements at play here are fire & water. The practices that invite us into the pranamaya kosha are pranayama, mudras, bandhas as well as asana if we let it.
  • Manomaya kosha: Your mind-sense body. This is the realm of this mind’s collection of data from the senses, the brain and nervous system. The elements at play here are air and space. The practice of sense refinement, noticing, and mantra support this layer.
  • Vijnanamaya kosha: Your wisdom body. This kosha involves our experience of intelligence, intuition and insight or the interpretation of sensory input. The element at play is space. The supportive practices engage and open our mind through jnana yoga, meditation or dhyana.
  • Anandamaya kosha: Your bliss body, your truest nature. This layer is super subtle. The element is space. The practice invites devotion or bhakti yoga. Where do you know bliss? What nourishes your overall sense of connection, belonging, beauty and love? This isn’t reserved for special occasions, my dear, this is a daily practice. For me, baseline anandamaya kosha practice involves flowers. I notice them, take them in with all of my senses, appreciate them, love them, and worship them.

My Daily Self-Care System

For the sake of being super practical and transparent, I would like to share my baseline, daily practices with you. I rely on these to do the big work. They are a part of me, but only when I do them. When I skip enough days in a row, I notice, and I don’t like it!
  • Morning routine: sit and breathe, move and breathe, hot water concoction (see recipes below), tongue scrape, oil pull, oil body. Boom.
  • Connect with earth: looking at my tree, surrounding myself with flowers, being barefoot outside, staying close to the earth.
  • Feet: brush, oil or massage with a stainless steel spoon. Caring of the feet becomes especially necessary when traveling.
  • Butter: in coffee or by itself.
  • Food: an egg a day.
  • Enriching conversation.
  • Daily Movement: asana, dance, a walk in the woods or around town, and a bike ride.
  • Sauna or steam room once a month.
  • My practice won’t be yours, probably. And my sharing here isn’t a prompt to do things exactly the way I do; my daily practice has evolved over 20 years of experimentation. My practice has evolved from noticing what I’m doing and how it makes me feel, then adjusting accordingly. Your practice doesn’t need to be complicated, it just needs to be your own. You just need to do it. Take some time to notice the habits you already have that support you and to call in a few that you suspect will fortify you for the beautiful work of your life.
    Share your daily self-care systems! Be sure to keep in touch with your experience by commenting here or on social media. Tag us on Facebook and Instagram and use the hashtag #SelfCareChallenge.
    Join us for the 10 Day Self-Care Challenge with Kelly Sunrose.

    Hot Water Mixtures

    Here are a few hot water combinations you might try:
    • Lemon, ginger and raw honey
    • Lime, cinnamon stick, and a touch of maple syrup
    • Lime, ginger, cinnamon stick, honey, and a touch of sea or pink salt
    • Rosehips and raw honey
    If you have a favorite, be sure to share!
About the Author

Kelly Sunrose

Kelly Sunrose is the creator of Yoga Anytime's Self Care Challenge. She teaches yoga in Portland, Oregon where she lives with her husband and daughter. Learn more.


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