The Koshas (layers of our being) are a subject that I’ve learned about it my various Yoga trainings. The idea of layers or sheaths made sense but I never really thought about it too much, and I never heard any reference of them during practice. Then one day, out of the blue, it dawned on me to explore the koshas in my practice and in my classes and thus began our journey through the koshas.
This 5-week exploration was very rich for me, I learned so much and deepened my practice. I continue to work with my koshas and home. I put together this post with a summary of the koshas and simple practices to connect and nourish each one in case you feel inspired to continue working with them as well!
Annamaya Kosha - Physical Body
The matter of our being: skin, bones, muscles, organs, liquids, gases, etc.
Our Asana practice takes care of this physical aspect of ourselves.
A simple practice to connect with this kosha: Body Scan.
Lie down (on a bed/couch/yoga mat) and simply scan your body, shifting your attention to your toes and making your way up to the crown of your head.
Pranamaya Kosha - Energy Body
Our life force and vital energy. This layer is deeply connected with our breath.
The practices of Pranayama and breath awareness help us nourish and tend to this kosha.
A simple practice to connect with this kosha: 4-Count-Breath.
Sit upright with a tall spine Or lie down with legs up the wall. Then INHALE and count (1,2,3,4), HOLD BREATH IN (1,2,3,4), EXHALE (1,2,3,4), HOLD BREATH OUT (1,2,3,4). Do this cycle 4 times. Notice the energetic feeling in your body.
Manomaya Kosha - Mental Body
Our thoughts, emotions, opinions, ideas, fantasies and all mental activity.
Practices like Mantra and Insight Meditation serve to nourish this kosha.
A simple practice to connect with this kosha: Breath Meditation.
Set a timer for 5 minutes. Sit upright with a tall spine Or lie down with legs up the wall. Start to count down your breath from 40 with the exhales as even numbers (exhale 40, inhale 39, exhale 48, inhale 47, etc). When you get to 20, only count your exhales. If you mess up pick up where you left off or if you got completely distracted start over.
Vijnanamaya Kosha - Wisdom or Awareness Body
Our intuition, inner knowing and awareness.
Contemplative and intuitive practices like tarot and meditation serve to nourish this kosha.
A simple practice to connect with this kosha: Legs up the wall.
Set a timer for 5 minutes. Lie down with legs up the wall. Take in your experience of your various koshas, notice your bodily sensations, breath and mental activity. Try to zoom out of the subjective experience and see if you can objectively take it all in.
Anandamaya Kosha - Bliss Body
Love and unity. This is the part of us through which we access the state of Yoga.
Selfless service, Metta Meditation, Bhakti Yoga and Devotional practices serve to nourish this kosha.
A simple practice to connect with this kosha: Mantra Meditation.
When you’re doing something (really anything) see if you can remember to stop for a moment and ask yourself: “Can I meet this moment fully? Can I meet this moment as a friend?” Notice how you feel and what that awakens within you. Try to do this as many times as you can manage to remember.
I hope you find this helpful and are inspired to practice at home. As always, I’d love to hear from you about your practice!