What are the Koshas?
Kosha theory is a layered understanding of the self described in the second chapter of the Taittiriya Upanishad. Kosha theory (or Layered Maya theory) teaches that the body consists of three aspects: the physical body, the subtle body, and the casual body. These three bodies are composed of five layers (sheaths). Kosha theory is often used in contemporary yoga practice as a meaning making system. A “Kosha Scan” may be incorporated in a yoga practice to bring awareness to a multi-dimensional sense of self:
1. Annamaya Kosha: Physical Body
Where is your body in space? What physical sensations are present?
2. Pranamaya Kosha: Energy Body, life force, Prana, or Chi
Notice your breathing and energy level. How would you describe it?
3. Manomaya Kosha: Personality Body, beliefs, feelings, identities, ego
Are there thoughts, feelings, or emotions present in this moment? Familiar or new?
4. Vijnanamaya Kosha: Witness Body, discriminative wisdom, awareness of awareness
Notice your ability to witness different layers.
If the witness could give you a message, what might it be?
5. Anandamaya Kosha: Integrated Body, integration, peace, flow state, the zone
What does (or might it) feel like to allow your whole self to be at home right here right now?