The Koshas: The 5 Layers of the Being
The Koshas: The 5 Layers of Our Being
When we think of our body, we typically think of our physical body.
We focus on how we physically look – the shape of our body, the size of our thighs, the width of our hips, the flatness of our tummy.
Back when I was super obsessed with fitness, I attached my identity to the way my body looked. I wasted so much of my mental and emotional energy on worrying if I had abs or not, and stressing about eating certain in foods in fear that I would gain weight and not look as *fit*. And it didn’t help that everyone knew me as the girl who was super lean and strong in the gym. In order to fit the identity I created for myself (so I thought) and the identity people knew me as, I focused on the most illusive part of my existence: the physical.
While modern society places sooo much emphasis on the way we look, each of us know at the very core, we are SO much more than the physical body. Our identity penetrates LAYERS deeper than the way we look, and we are multidimensional beings!
We don’t just have one body (the physical).
We actually have MULTIPLE bodies, that encase the soul (our true, pure self).
You can think of those Matroyoshka dolls, where one wooden doll, has another doll inside, and another, and another, and another.
Or, if you totally don’t get this analogy you can think of it like layers of an onion, with each layer being a different “body”.
In Ayurveda, these bodies/sheaths/covering are referred to as the “koshas”. All of the koshas surround or cover the self, the pure consciousness within all of us. Each kosha creates the illusion of reality (also known as “Maya”) in the various planes of existence that cover the true nature of the Source Field.
1. Annamaya Kosha
The Annamaya Kosha is the food body or physical body, as the term Anna means “food”. It is the lowest frequency vibration of consciousness and is the outermost layer of the illusory field. It is the end result of all other koshas that are above it.
Various factors can cause imbalances at the Annamaya Kosha level, include: wrong diet, poor lifestyle choices, environmental toxins, sleep deprivation, under or over exercise.
Ayurvedic therapies include: Change of diet, meditation, routine, self-oil massage, Panchakarma, and herbal therapy.
2. Pranamaya Kosha
The Pranamaya Kosha is the etheric body, containing all of the energy that directly affects our physical body. It regulates the flow of subtle energy (prana), and utilizes the nadir (subtle nerve channels) and the chakras (energy centers), to transform our thoughts into actions, allowing the mind and body to connect.
The Chakras are formed through the energies of the Pranamaya Kosha, and they store our thoughts, impressions, beliefs, values, and memories within them. It’s important to assess the Pranamaya Kosha and check for imbalances in the chakras to ensure that you are not blocked in any of the energy centers, or holding onto beliefs or stories that no longer serve your highest self. Remember, thoughts become things, and this is the function of the Pranamaya Kosha. The Annamaya Kosha communicates directly with the Pranamaya Kosha, manifesting our thoughts and beliefs into our physical reality. (Hello, manifestation and Law of Attraction.)
Various factors can cause imbalances at the Pranamaya Kosha level, include: trauma, under exercise, lack of emotional flow, unresolved or suppressed emotions.
Ayurvedic therapies include: YOGA, Panchakarma, Ayurvedic massage, acupuncture, meditation
3. Manomaya Kosha
The Manomaya Kosha is our mind body, as manas means “mind”. It is composed of our thoughts, desires, emotions, belief, and… EGO. The Manama Kosha corresponds to the astral plane, the layer of reality that represents our emotions as energetic forces that create our experience of life. Each thought creates a form, and we attract these forms to our astral body when we repeat and give attention to them (you can think about how the Law of Attraction works… putting a thought into the Universe and manifesting more of what is reflective of that thought).
Most imbalances come from the Manomaya Kosha, as this is where our EGO is stored. The ego is the mental structure that filters our perceptions and creates a mental of sense of “who we are” as separate from those around us, despite us all being one and the same.
Various factors can cause imbalances at the Manomaya Kosha level, include: emotional trauma and conditioning, emotional karma, unconscious beliefs, lack of emotional flow.
Ayurvedic therapies include: MEDITATION, aromatherapy, yoga, chanting, crystal therapy, Panchakarma, Ayurvedic counseling
4. Gyanamaya Kosha
The Gyanamaya Kosha is the upper mental plane / lower casual plane, where the subtlest aspects of the intellect reside. This is where your INTUITION is. It’s where you receive those “downloads” from the Universe, connect with your spirit guides, listen to the voice of your higher self. Everything you can’t exactly translate into words or the physical level (all that *woo woo*). This is also where your personality resides, the nature your soul has chosen to be in this human existence caused by karma and subconscious tendencies.
Various factors can cause imbalances at the Gyanamaya Kosha level, include: karma, past life pattern, subconscious programming.
Ayurvedic therapies include: chanting, crystal therapy, meditation, clairvoyant therapies
5. Anandamaya Kosha
Ahhh, the Anandamaya Kosha, aka the BLISS body! It is the kosha closest to the underlying field of Source energy, where we experience greater bliss and deeper spiritual connection. The Anandamaya kosha is the soul, the spiritual self, where we access higher spiritual knowledge and divine truth. It contains the storehouse of information about the structure and workings of the Universe, and is home to the angelic realms of higher planes.
The bliss body is your true, natural state of existence. (Yes, we are actually made of bliss, love, ecstasy, and goodness!)
Various factors can cause imbalances at the Anandamaya Kosha level, include: karma, past life patterning, disconnect with spiritual self/Source energy.
Ayurvedic therapies include: MEDITATION, clairvoyant therapies, chanting, crystal therapy
Next time you find yourself identifying with the way your body looks, or the thoughts swirling through you head, take a pause. Remember that you have multiple layers to your existence.
When you bring all five of your bodies into balance and alignment, you can tap into your inner bliss in both the spiritual realm and the physical reality.
You become closer to self-realization of Who You Really Are: bliss, love, light - pure consciousness.