How does a seemingly simple activity as yoga have such a profound ripple effect? There are quite a few ways to answer that question. but let’s start by unpacking this a little based on the ancient understanding of our bodily makeup.
The traditional yoga lineages teach us to have awareness of our five main koshas, also known as sheaths, which together comprise the whole self – moving from the most evident (ie most physical) to the most subtle.
These koshas could be compared to lampshades, that cover the brightness of our innermost being, which shines from within and cannot be fully named or defined.
These five ‘layers’ are not literally on top of each other. They are quite delicately interwoven, enmeshed fully by the way they relate to each other in myriad ways.
The Five Koshas / Sheaths:
Physical – Annamaya kosha
Energy – Pranamaya kosha
Mental – Manomaya kosha
Wisdom – Vijnanamaya kosha
Bliss – Anandamaya kosha
It is often fascinating the way these layers present on the mat – certain days yoga can feel like such subtle spirit focused meditation, other days much more like a physically challenging movement practice.
If we are feeling a disconnect from spirit, from a low presence of the bliss body, this could effect us on all layers. By contrast, greater connection in the bliss body can then ripple outwards to benefit all aspects of our being.
This is perhaps one of my favourite things about living this lifestyle – how both yoga philosophy and our physical practice can help support bringing all five koshas – breath, body, mind, wisdom and spirit – into a fuller harmony.