What are the koshas?

alignyo explains what the yoga koshas are via BreatheRepeat
How well do you know your koshas?
Yoga Lifestyle by Breathe Repeat

We learn something new every time we check out Breathe Repeat. Did you know that ancient yogis believed that the human body was made up of five layers or sheaths, called the Koshas? We didn’t either. Read on for more.

So, we have a body. It’s just one of those things that’s taken for granted in the human condition. We can twist these bodies into parivritta trikonasana, or sit still at a desk all day. We can walk too and from work, or we can throw a leg behind our head from time to time.  We can experience pure pleasure as well as physical injury. We have nervous systems, and circulatory systems, hands, feet, organs, cells and organelles. But, what if we didn’t just take it all for granted? What if we asked ourselves, what are these bodies made up of?

According to the ancient yogis, there are five interpenetrating layers or sheaths that make up our bodies. These interwoven sheaths are called The Koshas. I’ve always loved learning about the obvious and subtle dimensions of the body, and how they interact with one another. Over the years I’ve read a lot about The Koshas, been to several workshops, and ruminated on how to understand them and teach them. Here is what I’ve come up with thus far:

1. The Annamaya Kosha

Translation: The Food Body

How it works: You eat arugula, chew it well, and it makes its way into your digestive system where it is further broken down into its chemical, component parts – let’s say one of them is Vitamin C. This Vitamin C then eventually makes its way into the cells of your body and can do things like strengthen your immune system and diminish your fine lines.

The foods you eat and liquids you drink help to build the shape of your cells and therefore the shape of your body.

This doesn’t just mean the cells of your digestive tract. Rather, this layer constitutes all aspects of your body which are visible to the naked eye.

How The Annamaya Kosha apply to yoga class:  If you don’t have enough protein in your diet, you won’t have the building blocks of strength that you will need to create the poses. If you are running on sugar, your practice won’t have endurance. If you don’t eat the vital nutrients the cells of your body need to do their job, your practice will deplete you.

2. The Pranamaya Kosha

Translation: The Breath Body

Get the full article here.

About the Author

Breathe Repeat

Founded by Tracey Toomey McQuade and Joyce Englander Levy, Breathe Repeat bridges the gap between the ancient practices of yoga and life in the present moment. Breathe Repeat aims to help Modern Yogis navigate how to be spiritual beings in a material world. The curated content is always short and sweet, but it's sure to elevate your soul and help you "put a little east in your west."


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