The Five Koshas

The Five Koshas.


The starting point for embarking on our introduction to Energy as a creative force would be to look at what we already know and understand about ourselves.

The five Koshas are layers or "sheaths" that form a strata for our embodiment.

The physical body is the Anamaya Kosha.

Literally translated this is the "food" body. It is composed of matter.

The densest manifestation of who we are.

No matter how sophisticated we believe we are, this physical body is food.

All carnivorous life will get their nourishment from the Anamaya Kosha.

A hungry crocodile will not see us as anything other than food!

Equally when the physical body dies its decomposition releases nutrients that nourish the Earth.

Yet, are we not so much more than just food?

The Pranamaya Kosha is a more subtle manifestation which is pure energy or Prana.

If we look at the physical body under strong magnification, it does not appear solid but shows many smaller particles held together within a field of energy. Every cell that makes up our physical body is interacting within this energy field. There is constant flux and movement and this sheath resonates at a higher frequency. There are parts of the physical body that are controlled by electrical currents.

We have a natural pacemaker in the heart that controls the rate at which the heart beats and a pacemaker in the limbic system of the brain too.

We are not unfamiliar with this concept of energy.

If we want to calm the mind or slow down the heart rate we use our breath.

The Prana is present in the breath but is not the breath itself. It is more subtle and often goes undetected.

There are some who are more sensitive in their perception of the world and they often have a strong sense of this subtle level.

Prana is the energy that pervades throughout life.

It's flow will enable birth, longevity and eventually death.

It can be detected through sensations in the physical body, and blockages to its flow may eventually manifest in the physical body as tension, obstruction and disease.

Underlying the Pranamaya Kosha we are entering even more subtle realms.

The Manamaya Kosha is the lower mind.

The Manamaya Kosha is where intelligence can be observed. Our physical bodies have their own intelligence, controlling bodily functions and pre-cognitive automatic responses that allow us to carry out many tasks without having to think too much about them. The Manomaya Kosha is the underlying order and intelligence that pervades our lives.

The Vigyanamaya Kosha is more subtle and represents our consciousness and discriminatory capabilities. When we begin to awaken to the choices we are constantly making. This gives us the full responsibility for our lives since it allows us to make fully conscious decisions relating to all aspects of our lives. When we develop a mindful practice of yoga we are suddenly confronted with our complete freedom to choose how we go about things. Whilst the Vigyanamaya Kosha offers liberation it also means we can no longer shift responsibility onto others. As such many choose not to fully awaken to this sheath.

Finally the Anandamaya Kosha is the level of bliss. It is the pure untouched essence of our being. Our true nature before we came into this body.

Published by liz on Sunday, 21 February 2016, last updated on Sunday, 21 February 2016 at 7:28PM
Categories: Yoga Times

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