Kiana Ng Yoga
According to one of the ancient Upanishads, we are made up of 5 koshas (sheaths).
In other words, 5 different “bodies” with the first one being our physical body and the other four being lighter in density so they’re not visible to the human eye. They surround our physical body, similar to that of an aura.
The first of our bodies is our physical body aka annamaya kosha. Annamaya means food body. In the beginning of your yoga practice, this is where you’ll be spending most of your time with physical asanas and building body awareness.
The second of our bodies is the pranamaya kosha, which is the breath or vital body. Without this body, everything will cease to function. There are many forms of breathing techniques (pranayama) designed in yoga to help increase the flow and quality of the pranamaya body.
The third body is manomaya kosha, meaning the mental body. The activity of this kosha relates to our thought processes. It relates to our ability to use our thoughts to create action. This body needs time to regenerate itself during sleep or meditation. Mantra meditation is a nice way to sooth the mind and calm any erratic thoughts.
The fourth body is vijnanamaya kosha, meaning the intellectual body. It relates to our consciousness and will power to direct our lives and make choices. Jnana (wisdom) yoga and the yamas and niyamas are useful tools in strengthening this kosha as they help develop insight, contemplation and intuition.
The fifth and last body is the anandamaya kosha, meaning bliss. This is the ultimate goal of yoga. Most have this sheath underdeveloped as it requires a union of spirit and matter and a transcendence into divine consciousness where divine love is evident. 3 ways to develop this kosha is by selfless service (seva), devotion (bhakti yoga), and very focused meditation (samadhi).