Rather than just addressing the physical body, yoga ascertains that there are indeed 5 bodies, 5 layers of self or being, that must be addressed for overall healing to take place. Known as Koshas or layers or sheaths, each layer moves from the outermost physical body to the deep spiritual core. The 5 Koshas or Pancha Kosha are listed below:
1. Annamaya Kosha
Represents the physical body, including the skin, muscles, tissue, fat and bones. When you pinch the side of your waist and feel the skin and muscle under your fingers, you engage with annamaya kosha. We spend the most time hanging out here, locked in our physical senses
2. Pranamaya Kosha
Represents the subtle body — the circulatory system for prana, or “life-force energy.” It also includes blood, lymph and cerebrospinal fluid through the body. Psychologically, it controls our bodily and spiritual rhythm.
3. Manomaya Kosha
Represents the deep recesses of the mind, emotions and nervous system. It is the control panel for the emotional and physical body, sending messages through your brain synapses and the central nervous system. It’s this layer where you move from physical feeling to emotional feeling.
4. Vijnanamaya Kosha
Diving underneath the sea of emotions in the manomaya kosha, we reach the wisdom body —Vijnanamaya Kosha, representing awareness, insight and consciousness. Instead of simply feeling or acting, we choose to feel or act with intention.
5. Anandamaya Kosha
Represents your Atman, the pure and radiant bliss body. Within this kosha, you might experience a connection with all things, liberation from suffering and a deep meditative state.
Throughout the day, notice yourself shifting between the koshas layers:
Right now I feel hot.
Right now I’m paying attention to my breathing.
Right now I feel upset.
Right now I understand why I reacted that way yesterday.
Right now I’m deep in meditation.
Right now I feel bliss.
Yoga helps you to create a track to the deeper subtle Kosha layers, so they’re easier to access. Find the best collection of Yoga mats and accessories here.