Those aware of yoga must also have heard of the 5 layers of your body. Since yoga is a holistic practice, it has never been considered to affect only the physical body. According to ancient yoga, we are made up of 5 bodies. It has been mentioned in Upanishads, the Vedic texts, that the koshas are the 5 layers of awareness of self. Discovering each one of these is essential for self-realization.
Before we discuss these 5 Koshas, let’s dig a bit deeper into explaining the word – “kosha”. Kosha is a Sanskrit word meaning “sheath” or “cover. Like the concept of a Russian doll that contains smaller & smaller versions of itself, we also have multiple layers moving from the outer layer to the inner ones. The only difference, however, is that these panch koshas cannot be separated like a Russian doll.
Annamaya Kosha, the outermost layer is the physical body including all the organs, muscles, bones, and skin. The word Annamaya is comprised of two Sanskrit words – Maya and Anna. Maya meaning “made of” and Anna means “food” that nurtures the human body.
This layer is the most tangible layer that is oblivious to what is happening inside our organs especially if we are not paying attention to our body’s signals. We often see people eating without being hungry, deprive themselves of sleep and training excessively knowing it will injure them. This is where practicing yoga asanas play a vital role. It will help boost energy and flexibility, and reduce inflammation.
Prananmaya kosha means “body composed of prana”. Prana is the life force which is the layer beyond Annamaya. This is in fact the driving force behind every atom, cell, and organ. Prana is responsible for governing all the psychological activities happening in our body including pumping blood and digesting food. We get prana through several different elements like – air, water, food, and sunlight. All these sources combined to provide energy to our body. Due to a lack of prana, one can feel low in energy and fall prey to many illnesses.
Physically, prana manifests as the breath. Not just this, it also acts as a linking bridge between the Annamaya the outermost layer and Manomaya, the third kosha. The Prananmaya Kosha sends the signal from the mind to the physical body & back that enables our reactions. You can clearly imagine by now – how important Prananmaya Kosha is for well-being.
To maintain healthy Prananmaya Kosha, it is important that you focus on your breath through pranayama. You can now learn the art of pranayama at the finest yoga retreat in Thailand, Battle Conquer.
The third layer in the Panch Kosha is the Manomaya, the layer associated with the mind – from expressing thoughts, reflexes, and feelings, to sensations. The word Manomaya is derived from the Sanskrit word – “manas” means “mind” or “thought process”.
This layer constitutes of mind and all its tools called Indriyas (senses). Manomaya Kosha is the layer that is responsible to enable humans to differentiate between good and evil, pleasure and pain, sense of separation between you and me and yours and mine. This is not all. It is also the layer associated with “moksha”.
Practices like meditation can prove really helpful in maintaining the health of this layer. Luckily, there are many meditation centers in Thailand, the birthplace of Thai Yoga. One such place is Battle Conquer where you will learn how to meditate effectively.
Beneath this layer of Manomaya Kosha lies Vijnanamaya Kosha, the layer associated with higher intelligence. Vijnanamaya means “body composed of higher intelligence”, and is commonly referred to as our wisdom body. This is the layer that helps your body discriminate between reality and illusion. This layer builds the link between individual consciousness and universal consciousness.
You can activate this layer with the help of meditation. It is the subtle practice that will help you gain supreme knowledge and inner guidance.
Anandamaya Kosha is the innermost layer among the panch kosha. This layer is known as the bliss body. This is the layer where you experience the limitless freedom, love, and joy of your true nature. Since it is the deepest of all the layers, it is difficult to put this in words.
Our mind tends to mask this layer and therefore most of us are not aware of it. Although it is hidden from you still most of us have had a glimpse of Anandamaya Kosha throughout our life.
In the yogic tradition, Anandamaya Kosha is considered to be the finest veil that covers the true self. When connected to Anandamaya Kosha, you can let in the light that dissolves individuality along with limitations and suffering while experiencing the abiding joy that is ultimate and overwhelming.
In short, we as a human have so much more than just the body and organs within us which is defined in the ancient yogic scriptures. These panch koshas define that we have all the things we need to lead a healthy, happy, and complete life within us.
All we have to do is search for it in the right way. Reaching, feeding, and fulfilling each one of these layers is what we need to do. Especially if we seek to see within ourselves. From physical well-being to mental and spiritual health, yoga & meditation is something that can help you.
Finding the right yoga teacher is very important. Today, since there are yoga classes at every nook and corner, shortlisting the options is something that you need to do very carefully. Here, we have a guide to finding the right yoga centre for yourself which you can read to understand the process.
In case you are looking for a yoga center in Thailand (yoga retreat in Thailand), you must check out Battle Conquer. We have the best team of experts to help you and teach you all the necessary yoga practices. You can contact us at email@example.com