The Five Koshas are “layers” or “sheaths” that are wrapped around your inner-self or Atman, and refer to the physical and psychological aspects that contribute to create the ‘human experience’
They can be seen as a topographical guide or map of your body that help you to align body, mind and soul. Yoga therapists work a lot with koshas to bring their clients body back into harmony and balance.
The Five Koshas first appeared in the Upanishads, chartered by yogic sages as a helpful tool in the journey of ones yoga practice. They help to orient yourself when you are stuck in your body, feeling tension, blockades and imbalances. Every one of the five layers or sheets is interwoven with one another like a “russian doll”, so each body is contained within the next. Here is an overview…
The Five Koshas are…
1. Annamaya Kosha: the physical body; the skin, connective tissue, bones and fat. Many people spend most of their time in this “body,” unaware that there are more of their internal aspects that are worth “travelling” too.
2. Pranamaya Kosha: the energy body; controls our life-energy or ‘prana’
3. Manomaya Kosha: the mental body; here we move from the physical feelings to our emotional feelings; where the nervous system resides
4. Vijanamaya Kosha: the wisdom body, here we develop the awareness and consciousness we need for our own insight, to solve our emotional dilemmas; it allows us to see the choices we have in all things…we can stay in the same spot or move past the emotions we are attached to
5. Andamaya Kosha: the bliss body; our last layer, here we move from conscious awareness to the feeling of being connected with all things and experience freedom from suffering, here you are in your “inner space” or “flow”
Everybody knows the feeling of shifting between the koshas. You experience this journey everyday in your own body…
Yoga helps you to read the koshas and how to access them, to find your way towards your inner-self, your Atman. Give it a try in your next Yoga practice.
For more information check out https://www.yogajournal.com/wisdom/460