Body is the physical, and material sheath of our existence. It is a complex system that consists of multiple layers. In Depth understanding of this enables us to stay energetic and stress -free. Its name comes from the fact that food nourshies it. Koshas are a series of energetic sheaths that are similar to energy bodies. This encases the physical human form and regulates the health, consciousness, awareness and many other things about the energy systems in our body, according to ayurvedic and yogic philosophy.
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I was 21 years old the first time I asked myself the question, "Who am I? They knew exactly who they were and what they wanted—while I didn't have a clue. Or so it seemed. I was in a full-blown youthful identity crisis. So one day, using my journal, I embarked on an inquiry. What defines me? Am I what other people think of me, my popularity and reputation? Am I my taste in music or clothes, my political opinions? I had no idea that I was asking one of life's big questions.
I would ask, "Who am I? And on good days, there was some part deep within me that was happy, really happy, about nothing at all. So, which part was really me, the "true" me? And this takes practice. There are different ways that you can work with the koshas.
Once you become conscious of the layers, you can see how they affect each other, and you can begin to unlock their powers and gifts. You will begin to sense what kind of food you need and how much.
Your attention will become grounded. Exercise To get into the physical body, try this exercise. Notice your feet in your shoes. Touch your face and sense the contact between the fingers and the skin. Really sink your attention into that organ.
Just as you would in meditation, notice when you become distracted by thoughts. Notice the settling and grounding effect of this practice. The next three koshas are subtle—they can't be tangibly grasped. The pranamaya kosha , or vital energy body, interpenetrates the physical body but is much larger.
Just as you have a physical "look," you also have a personal energetic signature. You may also notice how much of your communication with the world happens on an energetic level. Meditation is intended primarily to tone the energy body, as is asana practice.
Instead of feeling "I am breathing," feel "I'm being breathed. Try this basic self-inquiry, adapted from an exercise developed by the spiritual teacher Byron Katie. Write down your thoughts about it. The wisdom body is also responsible for insight. Right now, notice that something in you observes that you are reading. As you embody awareness, notice if you are able to contain all the other levels of experience—without getting attached to their meaning or outcome.
Ask yourself, "Where is bliss? Don't worry if there is no immediate answer or response. For many practitioners, the experience of the bliss body arises after years of dedicated practice. Yet it can come alive for you in a moment—during an evening of kirtan or a meditation on the heart, or in deep Savasana Corpse Pose. When the bliss body does reveal itself, it can seem miraculous, like a gift, and yet completely natural.
Your essence is innately blissful. But you may need to learn how to turn deep inside to recognize it. Believe it or not, it is possible to be conscious of yourself in all these layers and levels.
To be aware and present in all of the koshas is to awaken to your own life and to integrate all the parts of yourself. It then becomes natural to sense the universal Self that expresses itself as our individual, layered Self.
Then we become like the greatest sages of the yoga tradition , who are awake in all their bodies and awake to that which is beyond them. Poses by Anatomy. Poses by Level. The Yoga for You. Types of Poses. Yoga Sequences. Yoga by Benefit. Yoga for Beginners. Intermediate Yoga. Advanced Yoga. Yoga History of Yoga. Types of Yoga. Yoga Basics.
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Getting to Know You: The 5 Koshas
Yoga is a comprehensive holistic approach to health, happiness, and wellbeing. Rather than just addressing the physical body, yoga ascertains that there are indeed five bodies, five layers of self or being, that must be addressed for overall healing to take place. Starting from the outermost layer and moving through the layers to the core of the self, each body is made up of increasingly subtler degrees of energy: from the physical body, to the energetic body, to the mental body, to the wisdom body, and finally, to the bliss body. However, unlike a series of Russian dolls, the five bodies cannot be taken apart and separated. These layers are interwoven, interrelated, and interactive—what happens on one level affects all layers of the body. Therefore, we cannot neglect the more subtle aspects of our beings. If complete happiness and total wellbeing is what we are after, we must pay attention to and care for all layers of our beings.
Understanding the Koshas: The 5 Layers of Self
In philosophy, the body, mind and spirit are understood as one continuity, but in fact eastern and western thought were never in agreement with each other. Western philosophy originated from Greece while eastern philosophy originated in India. Greek philosophers in general and western philosophers in particular spoke about the object. Indian philosophers in general and in particular spoke about consciousness, and for many centuries western thinkers could never accept anything beyond object as tangible: here is the object, I can see it, I can touch it, therefore it is. However, in yoga and in vedanta, object and consciousness are interrelated. In fact, modern science, what you call physics, speaks in exactly the same way as yoga.
Annamaya Kosha – The Energy System of Ayurveda and Yoga
I was 21 years old the first time I asked myself the question, "Who am I? They knew exactly who they were and what they wanted—while I didn't have a clue. Or so it seemed. I was in a full-blown youthful identity crisis. So one day, using my journal, I embarked on an inquiry.
This is the sheath of the physical self, named from the fact that it is nourished by food. Living through this layer man identifies himself with a mass of skin, flesh, fat, bones, and filth, while the man of viveka discrimination knows his own Self, the only reality that there is, as distinct from the body. It has the most dense and slow vibrational frequency. This body cannot exist without contact with the other koshas subtle sheaths or bodies the pranamaya , manomaya , vijnanamaya , and anandamaya koshas , yet for the most part it remains barely activated in regards to its highest evolutionary potential.