Yogic Layers(The Koshas of Life)
9 Sep 2019 HYN Himalayan Yoga Academy
Human Body is composed up of five sheaths (Panchakosha) or Yogic Layers. These sheaths from gross level to subtle level are seated.
The Five Koshas
1. Annamaya kosa (Physical sheath):
The physical body is built up by food. It is visible, palpable and gross. Everything is sustained by Anna/Food and everything dissolves into Food. The creation of life is also from food. This matter based aspect of body is called Annamaya Kosa that consists of panchamahabhuta namely Sky, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. The facts of this entire world of matter start from elements, molecules, atoms, and ions.
*Positive lifestyle– All the techniques and methods which are basically meant for the spiritual experiences, self-realization, self healing, creating eternal potency for better life.
*Ethical Life Build up- To maintain social and individual discipline, basically Yama and Niyama which are considered as the primary and required qualities, features, attitudes, principles of Human Being. Out of these Ahimsa/ non-violence is the first key of life and said as the Queen Bee because once keeping her into Hive, all the bees come together themselves into Hive. Similarly all the ethical qualities automatically develop in our life.
*Body Cleansing Acts- To purify the body, different rules and techniques can be used such as Ushapan (drinking water early in the morning just after wake up), drinking herbal tea, doing fasting, six cleansing acts , Panchakarma , etc.
*Healthy food habits- for the right purpose right quality of food in right time through correct eating rules with well feeling should be used properly.
*Physical Activities- correct working habits, aerobics exercise, morning walk, adventure trips etc. should be done for the better health and life.
*Yogasana practice– The body is established by asana which keeps the body fit and well-organized and increases the body stamina, helps in growth and development, relieves tiredness and fatigue, controls the stretching, contraction, relaxation of muscles.
2. Pranamaya Kosa (Vital sheath):
The prana is life force, from which the gross Annamaya kosa comes out. This prana is the basic fabric of this universe both inside and outside the body. A uniform and harmonious flow of prana to each and every cells of the Annamaya kosa keeps them alive and healthy. Prana flows through subtle channels called nadis. The five dimensions of prana flow regularly in activities are called pancha pranas. They are Prana, Udana, Vyana, Samana, Apana.
*Active physical life– Any types of action naturally increases the inhalation capacity of lungs, oxygenates the body, and increases the circulation of blood and impulses communication in the body.
*Walking in Nature– It promotes the prana level in the body.
* Breathing exercise- full and deep breathing helps in maintaining the immunity levels of the body.
* Good position- Erect spinal cord and back that keeps active breathing mechanism and enhances the prana.
* Healing therapy- Kriyas, mudras, reflexology, acupressure, massage, marmas, etc. help to increase the life force/Prana.
* Pranayama practice- “Pranayama Parama Tapa” it is the main practice for controlling the breath and prana in the body.
3. Manomaya kosa (Mental sheath):
A subtle sheath composed of mental stuff and essence perennial source of emotions and desires, anchoring will power and the five cognitive organs in a subtle form purified through Yama and Niyama. The mind is the sources of everything which carries the different functions such as perception, memory, egos and characterized by feeling such as likes or dislikes, love or hate, carried by the heavy egos. It is this emotion that is the root cause of all the human joys and distress.
*Listening the devotional songs, chants, music, praying and worship–
It induces the deep relaxation, healing, devotional power, harmony, love, awareness in life.
*Yoga nidra– It is the powerful techniques in which we learn to relax consciously. It is systematic methods of inducing complete physical, mental and emotional relaxation. Here the consciousness is functioning at a deeper level of awareness, so is called psychic sleep as well. Half an hour yoga nidra practice meets two hours of sleep benefits.
*Dharana and Relaxation practice– This practice enhances the good concentration and awareness of one’s own mental processes including emotions, memory, relaxation, pure thoughts, inner purity, harmony and calmness, etc. The right way of practice gradually restores the psycho-physiological functions back to its conscious state that makes our manomaya kosa well discipline and pure.
4. Vijnanamaya Kosa (Wisdom Sheath):
This is the fourth layer of the body. This is conscience within that continuously guides us to do a thing or not to do, that is the Vijnanamaya Kosa. It is this component of the mind that has developed in human race greatly and it differentiates man from animal. It always guides to get the mastery over the basic instincts.
* Dhyana Practice- It is the deep concentration phase and continuation of concentration and relaxation which promotes the awareness, positive feeling, happiness, blissfulness, freeing of mind. This component concerns itself with changes in one’s attitudes, behaviour, positive habits, well qualities, good nature, way of speech, way of thinking, and wholesome lifestyle which helps in inducing the feeling of sharing, feeling of warmth, peace and harmony, love and respect, attitudes of gratitude, honesty, truthfulness, and finally towards liberation and make this beautiful life gifted by pramatma more beautiful, more precious, more glory, more positive, more freedom, more self realized by upgrading the wisdom level and opening the intuition through self study in life. * Expansion of Consciousness by Continuity, Purity, Devotion and Belief.
5. Anandamaya Kosa (Blissful Sheath):
This is the most subtle layer of our life with full of bliss and joy as reflected from the purest pristine fountain source Atma. This is state of total silence and perfection. It induces the Anandamaya kosa, the highest level of evolution in the manifested existence. All those practices make this sheath more blissful, harmonious, joyful life and give the glory of life which leads the life of aspirants towards liberation, a state of getting free from miseries.
Actually this is not a practice; it is happening phase that means sadhya, not a sadhana. But there are different types of Samadhi on the basis of way of practices like Dhyana yoga, Nada yoga, Rasananda, Bhakti yoga, jnana yoga, Moorchha yoga Samadhi. This is just feeling or realization and reflected changes seen in life, and same way the best living pattern or arts will be obtained.