Ecstatic Yoga Workbook
Kosha’s Definition: The five Kosha’s, Sheaths or layers of the being.
· Annamaya Kosha Physical body, Food
· Pranamaya Kosha Energy body, Prana, Vital Life Force
· Manomaya Kosha Emotional body, Mental & Emotions
· Vijnanamaya Kosha Wisdom body, Intuition, Intellect, Personality
· Anandamaya Kosha bliss body, Joy, Contentment, Heart
Kosha means "Sheath," “Envelope.” Body” or “Cover”. In yoga, each kosha or sheath describes a layer within the being. The Kosha’s have also been described as five levels of awareness that lead to the discovery of the innermost Kosha the Anandamaya Kosha or True Self. As one moves through each layer of awareness they bring the yogi closer to the Atman, the inner guru, or True Divine Self.
When all our kosha’s are healthy, vibrant and balanced all aspects of our being are healthy vibrant and balanced. When we bring all the kosha’s into alignment we promote balance of all aspects of the being… body, breath, emotions, wisdom and spirit. Inner vibrancy and balance of all aspects of our being promotes overall harmony, health and well-being allowing us to enjoy more expanded states of Self Realization and Awakened states of being.
In yoga the 5 kosha’s go inward from the Annamaya kosha, the physical body as the outermost sheath or layer to the Anandamaya kosha, the bliss body as the innermost sheath or layer.
However, as we go inward each kosha although it’s roots are found more and more deeply within the being, they expand farther and farther away from the physical body as well. For example, the pranamaya kosha begins deeper within the body than the Annamaya kosha yet it is more expansive and expands beyond the physical body. The Anandamaya kosha is the innermost kosha yet expands infinitely beyond the physical body and physicality as a whole.
Practicing yoga and yogic philosophy is a powerful and direct way to harmonize and balance the kosha’s. Ecstatic Yoga Samadhi practice takes us through the journey of the kosha’s while honoring Patanjali’s 8 Fold Path and activating the chakra system. The Upanishads believed the practice of yoga and meditation when integrating the kosha’a would bring the individual deeper into the self, thereby closer to the True Divine Self, Atman or Bliss body.
Description of the Kosha’s
· Annamaya Kosha The outermost Kosha that feeds and brings life to the physical/material body.
These include the physical systems, the five elements of nature, and the ayurvedic doshas. The Sanskrit translation of the Annamaya Kosha or Sheath is “The envelope consisting of food.”
Muscular, skeletal, digestive, reproductive, endocrine, circulatory, lymphatic, integument, nervous and all other minor systems of the body.
Five Elements of Nature:
Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water.
In Ayurveda all the elements of the Universe combine and express within each human being as three characteristic humors or dosha’s. Vata (Ether and air), Pitta (Fire and water), and Kapha (Water and Earth.) Every human has a unique combination of all three dosha’s, often with one dosha that is more dominant than the other two.
· Pranamaya Kosha Pranic, energy body
The bioenergetics field surrounding the infuses and surrounds the physical/material body with life force energy. These include the prana vayus, the chakra system, and the nadis. The Sanskrit translation of the Pranamaya Kosha or Sheath is “The envelope consisting of life force.”
· Manomaya Kosha Lower mind, Emotional body
The energetic field of manas or lower mind, stimulus response mind that includes our habitual thought patterns and our emotions. The Sanskrit translation of the Manomaya Kosha or Sheath is “The envelope consisting of mind.”
· Vijnanamaya Kosha Intellect Wisdom body
This is the sheath of the higher Mind, also referred to as buddhi. This is the mind of intuition, discrimination and wisdom. It involves witness consciousness and present moment awareness. The Sanskrit translation of the Vijnanamaya Kosha or Sheath is “The envelope consisting of intelligence.”
· Anandamaya Kosha Joy and bliss body
The energetic field through which the individual connects to Ultimate Realilty, Atman, True Self, Divine Self. This state is naturally blissful and one experiences a state of pure euphoria. The Sanskrit translation of the Anandamaya Kosha or Sheath is “The envelope consisting of bliss.”
Unity, Oneness, All that Is
All of the kosha’s are manifestations of Unity
Brahman is the ultimate Reality beyond all appearance's and underlying all phenomena. Self that is the pure extension of ultimate Source, Creator. existence, consciousness, bliss... that which is unchanging, eternal, omnipresent.