Peel Back the Koshas & Find Peace
Peeling Back the Koshas to Find Peace
The koshas are the many facets or layers of a human being. The ancient spiritual practice of Vedanta, uses the koshas to uncover the divine self. Practicing different yoga postures (asanas) helps to create a balance in each of the five layers (koshas) and leads to self knowledge. The layers work from the outer most level (Annamayakosha) to the inner most layer (Anandamyakosha) and represent different areas of the human body.
1. Annamayakosha - This layer represents the physical body and the five elements defined in Ayurvedic medicine (earth, water, fire, air, and space). Different yoga postures directly balance this level of the body.
2. Pranamyakosha - This is the energy body and includes the subtle energy vortexes or wheels known as the chakras and the Prana Vayus or main energy currents of the body. It is the breath, how we take it in and how well it nourishes the organ systems. When prana is blocked or stagnant, disease can occur. Yoga postures open up the energy body and restores balance.
3. Manomayakosha - This layer represents our emotional responses. It includes the fight or flight response, survival, reproduction, social roles and personality. This kosha relates to our psycho-emotional health. The Manomayakosha is easily thrown out of balance by stress and can result in physical and mental illness. Yoga practice is an excellent way to de-stress and relax the body and mind bringing this kosha back into alignment.
4. Vjnyanamayakosha - This layer corresponds to our wisdom, intuition and insight. Becoming a witness to how we live and doing away with patterns that are physically or emotionally destructive is necessary for the development of our higher self. Yoga postures help to calm the mind and is essential for the wisdom body.
5. Anandamayakosha - This is the true self or bliss body. The nature of this self is inner directness, stillness and contentment. This level is experienced momentarily but it gives us a clearer understanding of our true nature. All yoga practice is a catalyst for this level of awareness.