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Season 1 - Episode 8

Jane Goodall: Interconnected

30 min - Practice


We begin with a story about Jane Goodall as a way to introduce us to the five koshas or layers of our being. With the koshas in mind, we explore movement, meditation, and a yummy restorative posture to find a sense of peace within. You will feel aware and at ease.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket (2)


Read Full Transcript

Chapter 1


when Jane Goodall was four years old she had one burning question and that was how does an egg come out of the mother hen because there doesn't seem to be any opening on the hen that's big enough to support the emergence of that egg so she goes into the hen house this is the family's country home in the England countryside and she hides in the corner because the eggs are not gonna the hens are not gonna lay their egg while she's standing right in front of them so she goes into the corner recedes into the environment and just waits for hours her family is hysterical searching the entire farm they can't find her I'm sure the authorities were about to be called and Jane is waiting so that she can learn firsthand from observation how this egg comes out of this hen so the hen does her work Jane is satisfied she's learned something really important she comes back out and in the telling that Stephen Cope gives in his wonderful book the great work of your life she's not scolded when her parents find her she's praised she's welcomed she's comforted and she's encouraged to follow this lifelong this lifelong urge that she has to understand the animal world so fast-forward she's in her mid 20s and she has saved up enough money to travel to Tanzania with the full support of her family she's a single woman traveling alone to Africa when she arrives there she meets up with Lewis Leakey the famous anthropologist and he hires her to go to the Gombe National Forest and observe the chimpanzees there for a three-month stint so the three month stint turns into over two decades of Jane's observations in the forest and her her communing with the chimp world the information that she provides the world from her observations is priceless one of the reasons Lewis Leakey hired her he received a little bit of criticism for this is that she had no scientific training no real background in this and that's what he wanted because he wanted an objective observer he wanted somebody to record exactly what they saw as opposed to what they thought they were supposed to be seeing at first it's simple observation Jane sits back like she did in the hen house and waits and waits for hours for days for months and eventually the chimps begin to welcome her they begin to behave as they normally would in her presence and then they begin to engage with her and so she forms these relationships with them she gave them names which until then was scientifically unheard of they were supposed to be numbers impersonal ones at that but Jane couldn't tolerate that because these were not impersonal beings in fact they are so personal that they come within 1% of the same DNA material that we humans have one of the things that Jane observed in the chimps behavior was that they were tool makers so they would take a blade of grass and they would stick the blade of grass down into the termite mounds fish out the termites for food so they took grass turned it into a tool for feeding themselves Lewis Leakey is famous for for making the statement because up until that time the thing that was understood to differentiate the animal world from the human being world was that humans were the tool makers so Lewis Leakey says we either have to redefine what a tool is redefine what a chimp is or redefine what a man is the significance of that is you can't overstate the other things that Jane observed in the chimp world were that they acted so much like we do they got angry they got sad they were tribal at times they were brutal at other times they were affectionate and loving and loyal and they were dedicated to their young they had long periods of childhood where the baby chimps would sleep with the mothers and ride on the mother's back for five or more years they recognized themselves in the mirror as opposed to others so they knew who they were they knew that they were individuals they knew that they were also part of a larger group and they had fun they had senses of humor so pretty much the only thing they didn't do that we humans do is to speak in a uniform and organized language everything else pretty much mirrors the way we live after two plus decades in the forest Jane comes out and she transitions her life's work from being primarily the world's leading primatologist to one of the world's leading conservationists as a result of living in the forest and communing with the animal world so intimately she got this first-hand view of how we are destroying this planet and she now spends 300 days out of every year traveling and lecturing imploring people to understand the importance of turning our world into one that is going to be sustainable she has several nonprofit organizations which support children and youth in the parts of the world that she did her life's work and all over the world really to to learn and to grow up in a world that they can make sustainable and better for not just us but the entire species of everybody who lives here Jane's work really speaks to the interconnectedness of all beings and it speaks to this idea that we are more than just what we appear to be this is a principle teaching from the original yogis there's the concept of the koshas which the word means sheath or layer or dimension and we have multiple dimensions and layers to us and in the act of observing whether it's a human observing the chimps or a human observing oneself that we can unpeel those layers we can we can dive into the subtleties of those dimensions and learn something that's of value I'll offer an analogy that takes these five koshas or these five dimensions or sheaths of our being and lines them up with Jane's work with the chimps so the first most coarse and obvious layer or kosha is known in Sanskrit as the Anna Maya kosha Anna means food body the stuff you could sink your teeth into that you can touch and taste and smell and see in here the word Maya in between it means it's known to mean illusion more specifically it means the measurable aspect of what you see suggesting that there is more than just that so the Anna Maya kosha is the measurable food layer of being so this is this is what Jane observed initially with the chimps she saw them using their bodies to do their work and to commune and relate with each other the next dimension is the prana Maya kosha the the measurable aspect of animating life force that moves through us and this is what she took in in the forest the sounds of the trees and the birds the rustle of the grasses the the inspirations of the chimps as they woke up in the morning and did their signature chimp call to each other and then the same as they as they retired for the evening the animating force is the life force of the forest and of ourselves next up is the mono Maya kosha the mind and the feelings the emotions and the thoughts that we have the measurable aspects of how we engage in the world in terms of what the brain makes of our experiences and this is Jane recording in an objective manner what she was learning from them took blade of grass stuck it in the mound fished out a termite gave a hug made a gesture of gratitude the thoughts and the feelings of the chimps as she was observing them objectively four out of five is the vision Yana Maya kosha the wisdom consciousness the part of the objective observer that can take oneself out of the matter completely and and and be willing to have some divine presence move through and inform what we are experiencing the part of us that has no expectations the part of us that is going to be okay the way the story ends whether it's the ending that we chose or not or didn't choose and this is Jane doing an honest observation of what the chimps what and who these chimps were finally the Ananda Maya kosha the bliss form the bliss body the measurable part of us that is really immeasurable and this is that sense of interconnectedness that that Jane experienced in the forest and that she is now communicating to the world in her conservation work the message that if we want to stay here if we want to exist in this world for any further generations we have to understand that the importance of being is more than just the importance of individual being we have to stop consuming we have to stop destroying we have to stop polluting we have to start and continue and do more of loving and communing and being with each other in peaceful coexistence in a practice that explores the five kosha the four the five dimensions and layers of our being we can start standing Ananda Ananda Maya kosha the food body the physical stuff

Chapter 2


let's get into that just shake it out so take your arm make it alive make it real take the other arm make it alive make it real take your leg shake it out you can do a little dance you can do what your body is calling for you to do so you feel yourself in your physical reality all right prana Maya kosha the animating life force that is moving through us take a deep breath with the mouth closed feel the breath present in the back of the throat as you exhale can you feel it and hear it can you get into this reality of energy moving through you the breath is the touchstone for that awareness so when you feel sufficiently animated take a nice wide stride turn one foot out to face the short side of the mat take the other heel and move it significantly away from the center of the mat so you can without any strain in your lower back turn your heart to face the short side bend the knee and we'll move into warrior one and then from here open up the back foot so you can turn your heart comfortably to face the long side of the mat and move into warrior two we're moving into this exploration of mano Maya kosha now the thoughts and the feelings that arise as we move through a gentle standing flow reach back to the back leg and up with the front arm lift the heart lift the gaze breathe in breathe out and then tip over to the side lean the elbow on the thigh open up the top arm extending it over your ear with the palm facing the floor for side angle pose and then back up nice and tall turn the feet to parallel pause for a moment check in thoughts feelings and then turn to the other side the foot turns to face the short side of the mat the other heel moves back away from center turn your heart to face the new forward bend the front knee reach up deep breaths open up the back foot turn the heart to face the long side of the mat front knee is still bent warrior to reach down the back leg up with the top arm and then topple over to the side rest the elbow on the thigh top arm reaching through the fingertips and equally as much reaching back through the back foot and then back up to stand put the feet parallel what is your brain thinking what is your heart feeling return to the first side warrior one heart faces the short side of the mat bend the knee reach up tall breathe in deep open up the back foot turn the heart again to face the long side bend the front knee reach out and reach back with the back arm up with the up arm and topple over to the side make the nice long angle from the fingertips to the foot angled away from the floor and a nice even stroke and back up second side warrior one on the second side again reach up and then turn to face the long side of the mat open up the back foot warrior to reach back on the back leg up with the front arm and then topple over for side angle elbow on the thigh top arm up and back up to center feet parallel so we'll do one more round of the four postures on each side and the idea here in exploring mano maya kosha the thoughts and the feelings is not that you spend the whole time in your head or in your emotional body the idea is that you pause for acknowledgement you say yes I hear you thoughts I see you heart I'm here with you it's real in this moment and also there's so much else that's here in real in this moment there's the physical form of us there's the animating life force moving through us there's the ability to step back and be the witness and there's the ability to recognize our smallness in the presence of the large vast divine conscious presence so one more time on each side warrior one and open up the back foot turn the heart for warrior to reach down the back leg up with the front arm and then reach over to the thigh with the elbow down other arm up and over the head side angle back up to center parallel the feet pause for a moment last time second side warrior one open up the back foot turn the heart warrior to reach down the back leg up with the front arm and side angle elbow to the thigh other arm up and over reach through the long line and come back up parallel the feet put your hands to your hips and then step the feet together we'll come down to sit now find any comfortable cross-legged position so here we're sitting exploring the principle of the witness consciousness the vision yana maya kosha the part of us that is uninvested in any of the details the part of us that is allowing the circumstances to be exactly as they are we've we have felt the body move in space we have experienced the animating life force of prana and breath moving through us we have acknowledged thoughts and felt the feelings and now we're gonna try and step back a little bit and just be and feel feeling quiet feeling steady feeling open to guidance to wisdom to benevolence open to freedom open to space open to connection for the final exploration of the dimensions of our beingness will come to a restorative pose reclined with two blankets so take your blankets in a nice neat long rectangular shape and stagger them one a little bit behind the other so you have like a staircase for your spine turn around so you feel the bottom step of this blanket staircase coming right up behind the tail stretch your legs out and lay your torso back on the blankets if at any point it feels uncomfortable or not right in your back then make an adjustment add a little bit of a speed bump with the top blanket under your neck so you have support for the neck and the back of the rounded back of the skull can just hang off the back edge of the blanket but you feel that the head is just ever so slightly raised above the heart let the arms rest out by your sides another option would be hands on the belly wriggle around make it just right and allow all of these other dimensions or layers or sheaths of your manifested form to melt down into the floor and that earth beneath this floor that supports us make this arrangement as close to feeling blissful as possible you take a nice deep breath exhale everything out wiggle fingers and toes twirl wrists and ankles bend the knees shift onto your side and gently bring yourself up to sit so the truth of impermanence nothing lasts forever especially not blissful restorative yoga postures as we make this transition back into the functional world may we do so with the ease and the wisdom of Jane in the forest bring your palms together may you be happy may you be free from suffering may you be at peace thank you


A good practice for the first snowy day of the season ❄️
Annie Moyer
Ahhhhhh for sure!!!
Laura M
This series is so educational, inspiring, cool, and unique!! Thank you so much, I really really love it, and am looking forward to future seasons!!!!
Annie Moyer
Laura, thank you so much for this comment - I'm so happy you are enjoying it and finding inspiration!!
Sandra C
Thank you Annie! This practice was exactly what I needed today.

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