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The Five Koshas

By Vicki Patterson

The Five Sheaths Or Koshas

Annamayakosha - the food sheath

Our physical bodies are made up of the material elements of the physical world. We are what we eat, so to speak. We are made up of food and will return to the earth, where our food came from, after our death. This sheath belongs to the physical body.

Pranamayakosha - the vital sheath

This sheath belongs to the astral body. We are composed of five vital energies, all of which flow through the physical body via the astral plane; prana, apana, samana, udana and vyana (I will write another blog on the vital energies so please check back soon if you want to learn more). The pranamaya kosha also contains the five organs of action (the karma indriyas); mouth, hands, feet, anus and genitals. Within this kosha, we experience hot, cold, hunger and thirst etc.

Manomayakosha - the mental sheath

This sheath again sits in the astral body. We experience thought through this sheath. We can experience thinking, doubting, anger, lust etc. The elements are; mind (manas), subconscious (chitta) and the jnana indriyas (the organs of knowledge; eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin).

Vijnanamayakosha - the intellectual sheath

This sheath relates to the astral body. It consists of the intellect (known as the buddhi) which analyses the information we receive. It also controls the ego (ahamkara), our self-assertive principle. It works alongside the five organs of knowledge, listed above. Discrimination and decision making are its manifestations.

Anandamayakosha - the bliss sheath

This is the only kosha that sits in the causal body. It's the part of us that experiences bliss, joy and peace. This is the part of us that we tend to lose connection with as it's the most difficult body to feel. Our aim in yoga is to reach connection with the anandamaya kosha - when we reach that inner place where everything is silent and calm, we have found our connection with anandamaya.

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