Understanding the Self
We all know that we are much more than the human Body. And often we ask ourselves, “Who am I.” And often, that marks the begining of understanding the self.
As per yoga philosophy, every individual is made of five layers. One emcompassing the other. And, as we practice asanas, pranayam, meditation or selfless service to others, we experience the inner layers. These layers or sheaths are known as “Koshas,” and they account for the different human dimensions.
The 5 Koshas
The pranic body is covered by five different layers:
1) Annamaya kosha (Gross body)
The outermost layer is the physical body, that can be seen-felt. This layer primarily needs food and water to function. Besides, asana practice keeps it healthy and mobile. And, for recovery, allopathy is used commonly.
2) Pranamaya kosha (Vital energy body)
In 1960s, Kirlian photography was used to capture the energy surrounding the body. Commonly known as aura. Every atom, cell, organ of the body functions on the prana. Imbalances or blocks within this energetic body, manifests as diseases in the physical body. Pranayam is used to keep the energy balanced. And accupressure or accupuncture is used for imbalance in the body energy.
3) Manomaya kosha (Mental body)
The third layer corresponds to the thoughts, feelings and sensations. Every thought, feeling has a vibration. Happy vibrations expand our energy and the others form blockages in the Manomaya kosha. Thus, using mantras and affirmation help the mental wellbeing. Also, the mental body comprises of the experiences of the five senses.
4) Vijnanamaya kosha (Psychic Body)
intuition, conscience and the reflective aspects of your consciousness are all part of your pyschic body. When we move beyond feelings and concern based on survival and security. And encompass compassion, love, oneness and joy. That’s when we are in touch with our psychic body. And Hynotherapy, Yoga Nidra are used to heal this sheath.
5) Anandamaya kosha (Bliss Body)
The deepest layer of our being is the core of our existence. Connection with this kosha is like coming home. Which fills you with ecstasy, dynamism and goodness. When you transcend beyond the body, mind and thoughts; You are in a blissful abode. Meditation and prayer is used to attain the independence.
The ultimate goal of yoga is “Chitta Vritta Nirodha,” that is the mind and its’ fluctuations cease in an individual. And they operate from the bliss body.
When you understand that yoga releases blockages in the many layers of the body. It helps you understand why sometimes we resist our practice and how we can broaden our perspectives!
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