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neoPedia: Annamaya Kosha

Food is in fact a creative spiritual practice

The concept “we are what we eat” was not born in an advertising office or research lab. It is a wisdom that existed for more than 3,000 years.

The world’s oldest teachings on food are found in Ayurveda, which considers food as medicine, and the foundation of health rooted in diet. How food is prepared, when we eat, and how we eat it are approached with conscious intention and careful attention. Seen in this light, nutrition becomes a deep spiritual practice. In parallel, the role of food in maintaining systemic balance has been a way of life for the Chinese for thousands of years. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the energetic quality of each food is carefully considered, with every ingredient chosen for its medicinal value, nutritional quality, and energetic “chi” (aka lifeforce, prana).

Annamaya kosha (Sanskrit) n. “consists of food”

anna = food / maya = consists of/with

kosha = a sheath or energetic layer.

Annamaya kosha is the first layer* and is all about the physical body. It is your skin, muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, and more. When you begin to change what you eat, this layer is the first to transform. According to all ancient wisdom and modern science, it takes 36 days for this layer to undergo a complete transformation.


Alex Olson photographed in the Angeles National Forest, California

While the importance of nutrition is a constant reminder as we grow from infant to child to adult, we tend to lose a deep connection with it as our lives become bigger, broader, and busier. While the physical body stops growing between the ages of 16 to 20, our spiritual bodies continue to develop and evolve throughout our lives. Nutrition is in fact a spiritual practice. By eating foods that support the physical body’s needs we are able to build on the foundational practice of food as transformation. We are on the path to raising our vibration to states of joy, peace, and abundance. Because our body is our “house”, our spiritual unfoldment is totally dependent on what we eat. If this house is not well built, the body is forced into “survival mode”, whereby stress hormones flood our systems, creating an inflammatory state that can lead to physical and mental illness and disease. In this state, the body is using all available energy to stay alive.

When we understand that food is both the basis of transformation and an extension of ourselves, we choose what we eat with loving attention. When we know that we literally are what we eat, food becomes a creative spiritual practice.

We can approach food in two ways:


What is conventionally known about nutrients, for example, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.


Think of these as a power that transfers to us when we eat a particular food. To use a page from the Anthroposophy model: The earth's energy is found in roots that are not only grounding but calming for the brain. Ashwaganda root is a good example. This can be explained by the inverted plant model, which gives a picture of the human body in correspondence with the plant structure. The brain corresponds to the plant’s roots, the respiratory system to the plant’s stem, and the reproductive system to the flowers/fruit. According to Ayurveda, we are composed of a unique ratio of three energies or doshas: vata (air, dry, mobility), pitta (fire, quick, sharpness), and kapha (water, earth, stability). These energies have correspondences with six tastes: sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter, and astringent. When your ratio of vata, pitta, and kapha differs from your natural ratio (the energetic constitution you were born with), you are susceptible to illness until it is corrected by eating the foods that restore balance. For example, the sweet taste corresponds to kapha, and eating sweet foods will balance excessive vata. Those dominant in kapha should avoid the sweet taste. Chinese Traditional Medicine considers the digestive process to be the foundation of good health. The energetic properties of food are based on principles such as damp-natured, cold-natured, and hot-natured. For example, ginger is considered to retain heat and barley to drain dampness. With a state of health defined as free-flowing chi, foods are chosen to prevent any blockages that impede the body’s energetic flow.

Being conscious of what kinds of energies we are taking into our bodies through eating, we can raise our vibration to a higher and higher levels. Eating can become intuitive in these high-vibration states, leading toward a harmony of groundedness and flow.

The more vital energy that a food holds, the more energy is available for us to take in, and the higher our vibration is raised. The next best thing after eating whole living foods are NEO’s nutritional supplemental powders.

Conceived and designed with an understanding of the art and science of higher nutrition, our foundational formula, The Ultimate You, meets the needs of all four bodies, ensuring the state of balance that will fast-track you to higher health.

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Alex Olson photographed in the Angeles National Forest, California

Inside each sachet of Ultimate Foundation:

Proteins, minerals/micronutrients, roots for the Physical Body

Superfruits, greens, prebiotics for the Etheric Body

Adaptogens, herbs, algae for the Astral Body

Omega 3s, enzymes, metals, roots for the Ego/I