The Koshas - Nancy McCaochan

The Koshas
Sheathing the Soul
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Annamaya/physcal body
Manamaya/mental-emotional body
Pranamaya/energy body
Vijnanamaya/wisdom body
Bliss/anandamaya body
Anandamaya Kosha
• the physical body and its constituent tissues
• the outermost, most dense and slowest in
vibration of all the sheaths
• the food sheath; that is, that which is dependent
on matter for its sustenance
• healing occurs at the level of nutrition, sleep,
exercise, cleansing rituals, medicine
• meditation and asana explore this kosha, which
becomes a gateway to the others
Pranamaya Kosha
• prana is energy; the pranamaya kosha is the
vital/energy body
• it is responsible for the subtle vibrations that
enable the mind and/or inner being to animate
the annamaya kosha
• pranayama- techniques of directing/removing
obstacles from the free flow of energy is the tool
we use to explore this body
• mudras are also helpful in that they direct
energy and awareness to specific parts of the
Manamaya Kosha
• from “manas,” which means mind; this is the
psycho-emotional form of mentation/mental
• ego bound and driven
• directs the physical body and senses through
the agency of prana
• akin to a factory manager that supervises
• when it thinks it’s the “Big Boss/Owner,” there’s
a problem
• through meditation we become aware of this
level of being and begin to explore its “stories”
Vijnanamaya Kosha
• “vijnana” means “knowing”
• wisdom sheath but also the imprinted core
beliefs that drive our mental-emotional reactions
• ego or I-am-ness; sense of self as
simultaneously transcendent and manifest
• knows, judges, decides and discriminates
between what’s useful and what’s not
• gets co-opted by manamaya kosha, which
clouds the wisdom of inherently available here
• yoga’s project and our life workis to contact this
level, uncover limiting core beliefs and let them
Anandamaya Kosha
• most subtle of sheaths/bodies
• bliss of being--peace, joy, love
• underlies mind and is independent of
circumstances or conditions
• not emotional; existential and w/o cause
• eventually, this too must be released in
order to experience Atman/pure
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