The 5 Koshas of Yoga
According to the rich spiritual philosophy of yoga, we are not just our physical body or our mind. As humans we are holistic, multi-dimensional human beings comprised of many different and constantly interacting levels.
The Koshas are referred to as the five sheaths of our being. Our Koshas start at the outer layer and move towards the inner layer in greater and greater levels of subtlety.
Layer 1 Annamayakosha
The Physical body – This is the starting point of our experience.
Layer 2 Pranamayakosha
The Energy body our Prana which means energy or our life-force which gives life to all of our physical systems. Pranayama or the breath helps us to relate to awareness. It helps regulate the flow of the life force to all our physical systems.
Layer 3 Manamayakosha
The Mental-Emotional body is based in Manas which means mind. The Manamayakosha is the layer of our being expressed as mind, emotions, and feelings. These include how we absorb, process, and interpret input from our life. This is based on what we can sense based on the limited ability of our senses. It is widely believed we have 5 senses. However, we may have as many as 21 senses.
Layer 4 Vijnanamayakosha
The Wisdom Body is considered part of the subtle body. Vijnana means knowing which represents the higher mind. This includes the faculty of wisdom which lies underneath the processing, thinking and reactive mind. This higher wisdom guides us through life and leads us to higher and higher levels of truth and integration. It includes the reflective aspects of our consciousness allowing us to experience a deeper insight into ourselves and the world around us.
Layer 5 Anandamayakosha
The Bliss body is our being or Anand which means bliss. Not in the sense of happiness or pleasure but at a much higher level in an unbounded experience of reality. The ancients viewed the experience of the Bliss body as an experience of the deepest level of our being, an unbounded, blissful state of peace, joy, and love.
The Koshas are beautiful manifestations of our essential universal nature or the unbounded, universal Oneness of all that exists.