The Koshas: the 5 layers of our inner experience
Yoga is an inner journey. The model of the ‘koshas’ or sheaths, helps us navigate in our inner experience. There are 5 layers: Annamaya Kosha, Pranamaya Kosha, Manomaya Kosha, Vijnanamaya Kosha and Anandamaya Kosha.
💪 Annamaya Kosha 🦵
Typically people start with the physical practice of yoga asana. The first month to a year is an exploration of our physical body. Becoming consciously aware of the body parts, muscles and how they move into space and how it respons in the different asanas. We really begin to experience our physical body. This is the domain of Annamaya Kosha, the physical self.
💫 Pranamaya Kosha ⭐️
As we connect with the physical body, we become more aware of the energetic dimension of our being. Through the flow of breathe, we become aware of the vital life force energy Prana. The 5 movements of prana in the body are called the Vayus: prana(upward energy), apana (downward energy), samana (coiling in) , vyana (radiating out) and udana (upward moving from the throath).
💆♀️ Manomaya Kosha 💆♂️
Going more deeply within, we become aware of the thoughts in our head. Mano means the mind. The sense of “I” or “mine” is located here. Also our 5 senses associated with this layer.
👳🏼♀️ Vijnanamaya Kosha 👳🏼♀️
This brings us to the wisdom sheath. This is the reflective aspect of consciousness, our ability to think about ourselves and discrimate thoughts. When we become aware of the intelligence observing our mind, body and soul, we can start letting go of the attachment of the previous layers.
✨ Anandamaya Kosha 💖
“When the witness of the experience dissolves into the experience of the moment, anandamaya is shining through,” as Shiva Rae puts it.
When we become aware of awareness itself and feel the infinite space below and above us, we can catch glimpses of the divine that resides in each of us, which is pure bliss, felt in moments of inner peace and silence.