About the Koshas Today - Aura Wellness Center

About The Koshas Today

the koshasBy James Hall

What should we know about the koshas? The ancient science and art of yoga is essentially for self-realization and developing self-reliance. Ayurvedic medicine, which is complementary, focuses on the disease-proneness and constitution of the individual and is more of a treatment in the realm of natural medicine. At the same time, yoga is a way of taking care of ourselves. To this effect, Yoga Therapy focuses on five constituents known as the Pancha-Koshas.


Annamaya Kosha

The physical body needs to be nourished and maintained on food. That is, the body is derived from food. Annamaya Kosha – a gross, palpable, visible, and perishable* vehicle known as the “food sheath.” Purified by yoga cleansing practices (Shatkriyas) and harmonized by yoga postures (Asanas). *Perishable due to Maya.

Pranamaya Kosha

Next is a vital, vibrant sheath of bio-energy activating all five sheaths: Pranamaya Kosha. In Yoga, this bio-energy is called Prana. We are alluded to in the West as ‘free energy’ or, more specifically, Adenosine Tri-Phosphate*. * If we are active physically, we use an amount of ATP close to our body weight.

Sheldon Saul Hendler, MD, Ph.D., in his excellent book, Oxygen Breakthrough, focuses on breathing to reduce oxygen debt. Furthermore, it is for those with chronic fatigue, frequent infections, autoimmune disorders such as arthritis, asthma, panic attacks, anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances.


About Breathing

Breathing consciously (and practicing pranayama) enables us to make the vital connections that help us understand how oxygen debt may contribute to fatigue. Yoga pranayama is a method of working with the active dynamic aspect of consciousness, called Prana, through breath control, widening and lengthening the breath, and through subtle breathing, ujjayi.

The inner breathing of the cells enables us to produce biological energy. Swara Yoga is the science of brain breathing. This induces a calming of the mind, encourages conservation and liberation of energy, and the innate ability to self-regulate and balance both sympathetic and parasympathetic behaviors (autonomic nervous system).

Ida and Pingala

This is achieved by balancing Ida nadi and Pingala nadi, or mind and prana. Of course, the nadis are energy channels that conduct the breath consciousness and convey subtle sound vibrations. Paying keen attention to the flow of the breath in both nostrils or employing Nadi Shodan Pranayama equalizes the flow of the Swara. Therefore, the nadis are energy channels that conduct the breath and subtle sounds.

Firstly, when Ida is flowing Manas Shakti – mental energy increases. Secondly, if Pingala flows, Prana Shakti – physical energy increases. Thirdly, when there is equal flow of the breath in both nostrils, attention shifts to the whole brain (left and right sides) and the spinal cord that connects the brain to the body (central nervous system). Fourthly, when Ida and Pingala are balanced, the energy or Shakti flows in Sushumna, the spinal column. Finally, the spinal cord is called Citrini, and the power or active shakti is called Kundalini.



Pranayama: The breathing practices in yoga correct futile breathing, thereby alleviating anxiety (i.e., by addressing difficulties in breathing, such as oxygen toxicity and O2 deprivation). Asana and pranayama: All yoga poses and breathing exercises practiced regularly are effective in managing anxiety and depression and have a very positive effect on volition. Above all, movement overcomes depression to produce well-being.

Yoga Nidra*- or deep relaxation -those methods that have been around since time immemorial, enable withdrawal from the outside world, heighten awareness, and conserve vital Energy. *Paramahansa Satyananda method of nyasa.


Manomaya Kosha

This kosha refers to the intellectual mind – a perennial source of emotions and desires associated with the will, thoughts, and counter thoughts, concerned with cognitive processing through ‘organs of knowledge’; ears, skin, eyes, tongue, and nose collectively called the gyanendriya.

Concentration (dharana) is on the subtle senses (tanmatra): sound, touch, sight, taste, and smell…concentration can be on a mantra, the breath, a candle flame, or a symbol…or simply observing the appearance and disappearance of thoughts (mindfulness). Finally, the inner practices of Raja Yoga help control the mind, along with the physiological balancing and organic effects of Hatha Yoga.

Moral and ethical values. Yama: Peacefulness, truth, honesty, sense of control, and non-possessiveness are observed. Niyama is the discipline of cleanliness, contentment, self-discipline, self-awareness, and ‘letting go’ or self-surrender (Ishwarapranidanani).

Vigyanamaya Kosha

This kosha refers to intuition and higher knowledge; which includes the ‘higher mind’ concerned with discernment, reasoning, and reflection. The ‘unbiased observer’ or silent witness. Antar Mouna meditation is a technique for developing detachment. {which requires some effort to establish} helpful for managing obsessive states and excessive mental energy, can be practiced anywhere and at any time – the art of being consciously present.

Anandamaya Kosha

This kosha means inner joyfulness; removing obstacles and obstructions through meditation, the inner light dawns. The approach is not symptomatic but goes to the root of the individual’s psychological and physiological being. Furthermore, the purpose is not to cure a particular disease but to bring about self-harmony at a very deep level and to experience deep joy (Ananda). To this effect, the Eight Limbs of yoga are practiced daily. Moreover, this is called Ashtanga, which is clarified in the Sutras of the sage Patanjali (approx 300-400 BC).



Hatha Viewpoint

Hatha Yoga primarily caters and cares for the first two Koshas described above and Raja yoga for the remaining three, both with the same aim, namely self-realization and for which purification and fortification of the five Koshas are extremely helpful. 

Yoga Therapy is an ingenious and valuable by-product of the ancient Yoga Shastra, but it should be noted that any health outcomes are an indirect effect of yoga practice. Yoga enjoins a balanced healthy diet, benevolence, kind actions, regular training, and a positive approach to learning (and unlearning) by working with the five constituents of Kosha, as discussed above.

For self-realization, Yoga means union with the individual consciousness and the supreme Consciousness. Yoga Therapy is not about treatment but is altogether scientific and rational. It’s a commonsense way for self-care of the mind-body complex. The objective is maintaining good condition of the body and taking care of the mind; that is, the mind as an instrument of consciousness. The secondary meaning of yoga is to ‘yoke’ the mind and gain mastery of the body.


Balanced State

When the body-mind complex is in a balanced state something wonderful happens. Consciousnesses is self-illuminating. Its very nature is to shine – and while the windows of the mind are opened, that auspicious Light gives light to the intellect and the Buddhi (awareness). As a result, upon recognition of the inner spiritual light say; “I am that Supreme Light of Lights”. Others pray, or chant Gayatri: “May that Light guide our meditation.”

Hari Om Tat Sat

James Hall is a:

Aura 500 CYT

Independent Yoga Therapist

Registered Nurse

Reiki Level III Practitioner

James lives in Adelaide, South Australia, and is on the SA committee of Yoga Australia.

He is passionate about bridging the gap between yoga and healthcare, particularly interested in Auto Immune Diseases.

James can be contacted at littleeagle1234@hotmail.com

© Copyright – James Hall / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

To see our selection of Yoga teacher training courses, please visit the following link.


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About The Koshas Today

By Gopi Rao, Faye Martins, and Sangeetha Saran

Welcome to the fascinating topic of the Koshas! In today’s fast-paced world, where stress and anxiety often dominate our lives, exploring holistic practices that promote balance and well-being is essential. The ancient concept of the Koshas offers a unique approach to understanding ourselves as multidimensional beings. Whether you’re a yoga enthusiast, teacher, or simply curious about enhancing your overall wellness, this article will delve into the significance of the Koshas in today’s context.

What are the Koshas?

The Koshas, rooted in ancient yogic philosophy, are a framework that helps us understand the various layers of our being. Just as an onion has multiple layers, so do we! The term “Kosha” translates to “sheath” or “layer,” representing the different levels of existence beyond just our physical bodies.

There are five primary Koshas:

1. Annamaya Kosha: This is the outermost layer and encompasses our physical body—the bones, muscles, organs—everything tangible that makes up who we are on a physical level.

2. Pranamaya Kosha: Moving inward, this layer represents the vital life force energy flowing within us. It includes our breath and subtle energy channels known as nadis.

3. Manomaya Kosha: Beyond the physical and energetic layers lies the mental sheath. Here, thoughts, emotions, memories—our entire psychological makeup—are housed.

4. Vijnanamaya Kosha: This layer pertains to wisdom and discernment. It involves higher knowledge and intuition that goes beyond mere intellectual understanding.

5. Anandamaya Kosha: At the core of our being resides pure bliss or joy—a state of profound interconnectedness with all things around us.

Understanding these different aspects allows us to recognize ourselves as multidimensional beings with intricate layers intertwining seamlessly within each other.

Are the Koshas Relevant Today?

It is easy to overlook ancient wisdom and practices in today’s modern world. However, when it comes to the concept of the koshas, these ancient teachings hold great relevance in our lives today.

The koshas are a framework that helps us understand the different layers or sheaths of our being. They include the physical body (annamaya kosha), energy body (pranamaya kosha), mental-emotional body (manomaya kosha), higher wisdom body (vijnanamaya kosha), and blissful essence (anandamaya kosha). By acknowledging and exploring each layer, we gain a deeper understanding of ourselves.

In our modern society, where stress levels are high, and many suffer from anxiety and disconnection, working with the koshas can offer immense benefits. The physical practice of yoga asana addresses the annamaya kosha by promoting strength, flexibility, and overall well-being. Incorporating pranayama techniques helps balance prana in the pranamaya kosha for increased vitality.

By delving into practices such as meditation or mindfulness, we can tap into the manomaya and vijnanamaya koshas, respectively. This allows us to cultivate awareness of our thoughts and emotions while accessing higher states of consciousness.

Working with all five layers harmoniously leads us towards experiencing anandamaya – pure bliss within ourselves. In a world filled with distractions and external demands on our time and energy, connecting with this inner source becomes more critical.

Teachers should be aware that introducing students to these concepts may initially seem unfamiliar or esoteric, but emphasizing their practical applications can help bridge any gaps in understanding. Students should learn about how incorporating practices that address each layer individually creates unity within themselves.

As we navigate life’s challenges in this fast-paced digital age, the ancient wisdom the koshas offers remains highly relevant and essential. By exploring and integrating these layers

How the Koshas Work Together

The Koshas, which are the five layers or sheaths that make up our being, work harmoniously and interconnectedly. Each layer has its unique function and purpose, but they are all intricately linked to one another.

The first layer is the Annamaya Kosha, the physical body. This is the most tangible aspect of ourselves, and provides us with a vehicle for experiencing the world through our senses. Through this layer, we engage in physical activities like yoga postures and other forms of exercise.

Next comes the Pranamaya Kosha, or energy body. This layer encompasses our breath and life force energy. It is responsible for nourishing our bodily functions and keeping us alive. Through practices such as pranayama (breathing exercises), we can cleanse and balance this vital energy.

Moving inward, we encounter the Manomaya Kosha – the mental/emotional body. This layer includes our thoughts, emotions, beliefs, memories, and desires. It influences how we perceive ourselves and interact with others. By cultivating mindfulness practices like meditation or journaling, we can gain insight into our mental patterns and create positive shifts in this kosha.

Beyond the Manomaya Kosha lies Vijnanamaya Kosha –the wisdom/intuitive body.

This subtle level of consciousness allows us to tap into higher states of awareness where intuition thrives. It connects us to universal intelligence.

By developing spiritual practices like contemplation or self-inquiry, we access deep insights beyond ordinary understanding. The connection between mind, body, and soul becomes more apparent. Lastly, the Anandamaya Kosha is often called bliss/body.

As its name suggests, it represents pure joy, contentment, and inner peace. Here, we connect to divine consciousness, surrendering any sense of separation from something greater than ourselves.

Through various techniques, such as chanting mantras or engaging in devotional practices, we can experience the blissful nature of our being.

The Benefits of Working with the Koshas

The practice of working with the Koshas offers a multitude of benefits for individuals seeking holistic well-being. Understanding and nurturing each layer of our being can experience profound transformation and inner growth.

One of the primary benefits of working with the Koshas is that it allows us to cultivate self-awareness on multiple levels. As we delve into each layer – from the physical body (Annamaya Kosha) to the breath and energy body (Pranamaya Kosha), from thoughts and emotions (Manomaya Kosha) to intellect and intuition (Vijnanamaya Kosha), all the way through to pure bliss consciousness (Anandamaya Kosha) – we gain insight into different aspects of ourselves.

By consciously engaging with these layers, we learn how they interconnect and influence one another. We know that imbalances in one area may manifest as physical ailments or emotional disturbances in another. This awareness empowers us to make positive life changes, leading to optimal health, emotional stability, mental clarity, and spiritual expansion.

Deep Healing

Working with the Koshas also provides an opportunity for deep healing. As we explore each layer within ourselves, we uncover unresolved issues or traumas stored within them. Through practices such as meditation, pranayama (breathing exercises), asana (yoga postures), mantra chanting, or visualization techniques specifically designed for each kosha, we can release these blockages and restore balance.

Moreover, by developing a connection with all five koshas during our yoga practice or meditation sessions, we tap into a more profound sense of interconnectedness between our bodies, minds, hearts, and spirits – even with others around us! This heightened sense of unity enhances not only our relationships but also extends outwardly toward fostering compassion and empathy for all beings.

The benefits derived from working with the koshas are genuinely transformative. From increased self-awareness across various levels of existence to profound healing and a deepened sense of interconnectedness, this practice has the

Kriya and Meditation for the Koshas

Meditation and kriya are powerful practices that can help us balance and harmonize the koshas. Kriya, derived from Sanskrit, means “action” or “movement.” It involves specific movements, breathwork, and sound vibrations to awaken and energize different layers of our being.

When we practice kriya for the koshas, we are working on each layer individually and their interconnectedness. Each movement is designed to target specific energy centers within our body-mind complex. Through this focused action, we can activate and purify these energy centers, allowing the flow of prana (life force energy) to move freely throughout our entire system.

Meditation complements kriya by providing a stillness that allows us to go deeper into introspection. By quieting our minds through meditation, we create space for self-awareness and cultivate an intimate connection with each kosha.

During meditation for the koshas, we may visualize colors or symbols associated with each layer or repeat affirmations that resonate with them. This helps us tap into the unique qualities of each kosha and bring about deep healing and transformation.

By incorporating kriya and meditation into our yoga practice, we can address imbalances in any of the five koshas – physical body (annamaya), energetic body (pranamaya), mental/emotional body (manomaya), wisdom/intellectual body (vijnanamaya), and blissful/spiritual body (anandamaya).

Through consistent practice over time, we begin to experience a greater sense of wholeness within ourselves. We become more attuned to our bodies’ needs while cultivating clarity of mind and emotional stability. Our intuition sharpens as we access higher states of consciousness beyond everyday awareness.

Teachers must understand how kriya and meditation work synergistically with the koshas to effectively guide their students. They can offer specific kriya techniques and meditation practices that target each.

What Should Teachers Know About the Koshas?

As yoga teachers, it is crucial to understand the koshas and their significance in our practice deeply. The koshas are energetic layers or sheaths within each individual, representing different aspects of our being. By familiarizing ourselves with these koshas, we can guide our students toward a more holistic and transformative experience on the mat.

Teachers should know that the five koshas – annamaya (physical), pranamaya (energetic), manomaya (mental/emotional), vijnanamaya (intellectual/intuitive), and anandamaya (blissful) – work together harmoniously to create a balanced state of well-being. Each layer influences and impacts the others, highlighting the interconnectedness of body, breath, mind, and spirit.

Understanding how to address each kosha individually is critical to effective teaching. For example, incorporating asanas helps nourish the physical body through movement, while pranayama practices enhance energy flow in the pranamaya layer. Additionally, integrating meditation techniques supports mental clarity and cultivates awareness in both manomaya and vijnanamaya koshas.

Moreover, acknowledging that every student’s experience with these layers will vary is essential. Some may be more attuned to their physical bodies, while others might resonate deeply with meditation practices. As teachers, we must recognize this diversity and offer modifications or variations to accommodate individual needs.

Last but importantly for teachers, embodying authenticity is vital when sharing knowledge about the koshas with students. Being confident in your understanding will inspire trust from your students as they embark on their journey of self-discovery through these layers.

Teachers play an integral role in guiding students toward a deeper understanding of themselves by exploring the intricacies of each kosha during their yoga practice. By recognizing how these energetic layers intertwine, We can create meaningful experiences that promote growth and transformation on and off the mat.

What Should Students Learn About the Koshas?

As students dive into the world of yoga and explore its many dimensions, understanding the concept of Koshas becomes an essential part of their journey. The Koshas are like layers encapsulating our being, representing different aspects of our existence. Each layer has its unique qualities and influences how we experience life.

Students should learn that the first layer is Annamaya Kosha, representing the physical body. It reminds us to care for ourselves through proper nutrition, exercise, and self-care. By nurturing this layer, we create a solid foundation for overall well-being.

Moving inward, students will discover Pranamaya Kosha – the energy sheath. This layer highlights the importance of breathwork and cultivating prana or life force energy within ourselves. Students can tap into this vital source of vitality through pranayama techniques such as alternate nostrils or deep belly breathing.

Next comes Manomaya Kosha – the mental-emotional layer. Students should learn how thoughts and emotions influence their experiences and well-being. By practicing mindfulness and observing their inner landscape without judgment, they can cultivate emotional intelligence and find balance.

Vijnanamaya Kosha is often referred to as the wisdom sheath or intuitive mind. Here, students can tap into their higher knowledge beyond intellect by developing intuition through meditation practice or introspection exercises.

Anandamaya Kosha represents bliss consciousness – our connection to pure joy and spiritual awakening. Students can explore this aspect through gratitude journaling or connecting with nature to cultivate a sense of profound contentment in their lives.

By learning about each kosha individually and understanding how they work together as an interconnected system, students gain insights into holistic well-being on all levels: physical, energetic,
mental-emotional, sensory, intellectual, intuitive, and spiritual.

They become empowered with tools to navigate challenges more effectively while fostering greater self-awareness, endurance, resilience, and overall personal growth.


In today’s ever-changing world, cultivating a deep self-awareness and holistic well-being is more important than ever. The ancient concept of the Koshas provides us with a framework to understand ourselves on multiple levels – physical, energetic, psychological, intellectual, and spiritual.

While some may argue that the Koshas are outdated or irrelevant in our modern society, the truth is that they hold immense value and wisdom for anyone seeking personal growth and transformation. Therefore, we can tap into our true potential by acknowledging and working with all aspects of our being through yoga, meditation, breathwork, and mindfulness.

Teachers who incorporate teachings about the Koshas in their classes can help students deepen their practice by offering insights into different layers of existence. While explaining how these layers interconnect and influence one another, teachers empower students to explore beyond physical postures on the mat.


For students embarking on their journey towards self-discovery, learning about the Koshas opens up a new realm of possibilities. It allows them to delve deeper into their own experience as they navigate various challenges in life. Understanding how each layer affects their overall well-being enables them to make conscious choices that enhance harmony between mind-body-spirit.

The benefits of working with the Koshas extend far beyond the flexibility or strength gained from asana practice alone. They offer an opportunity for profound healing at every level – physically releasing tension stored in muscles, energetically balancing prana (life force), emotionally addressing unresolved patterns, intellectually expanding knowledge, and spiritually connecting with something greater than oneself.

So whether you are new to yoga or have been practicing for years, this is a perfect time to dive deeper into your understanding of the Koshas today! Embrace this ancient wisdom that transcends time as you embark on an inner journey toward wholeness and balance.

© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

2 thoughts on “About The Koshas Today”

  1. Anandamaya Kosha means inner joyfulness, Vigyanamaya Kosha refers to intuition and higher knowledge, Manomaya Kosha refers to the intellectual mind, Really the article is very much informative about the Koshas. Thanks for this article.

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