The Five Kosha Elements of Yoga

In the yoga philosophy of Kosha, we learn that our true Self is made up of more than just our physical body. That in order to reach our true Self, to live our lives in health, happiness, and harmony we must nourish all of our selves or Koshas. 

Yoga Kosha

In Sanskrit the work Kosha means 'sheath' or 'covering', in yoga philosophy we use this to conceptualise the vision of our multi-selves. When we can unpack the Kosha we can learn how to nourish them. 

While here we will lay out the Kosha linearly, note that in reality the Kosha meld between each other, to nourish one is to nourish all; to neglect one is to neglect all. 

Annamaya Kosha - The Physical Body

Typically we start our yoga journey because of our physical body, what we know of yoga is of the asana (postures). We decide that it might be something to try, whether it be to ease joint of back pain, strengthen, tone or improve flexibility, yoga fulfills all of these desires. This is where our Koshas start, in the physical core of our being.

Nourishing this Kosha is possibly the most straight-forward, we practice yoga asana. The benefits of nourishing our physical body include;

  • Minimising aches and pains
  • A feeling of lightness
  • Ability to withstand change
  • Stability and ease

Pranamaya Kosha - The Energetic Body

In Sanskrit, Prana means 'energy' or 'life-force', thus, this kosha refers to the nurturing of our own life force and energy. The elements that make up our own Prana include; the blood, lymph, and cerebrospinal fluid that move throughout our body, as well as the circulatory movement of breath through our respiratory system.

The Pranamaya Kosha governs our digestive system, circulatory system, and lymphatic system. When we balance the flow and energy of our Pranamaya Kosha, it is reflected in:

  • Organ function
  • Sleep patterns
  • Stress management
  • Our energy & vitality
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Manomaya Kosha - The Mind

We can consider the Manomaya the control panel to our brain synapsis and central nervous system, aka, the thing that controls both our emotional wellbeing. Throughout the 8 Limbs of Yoga, we are seeking harmony between our physical and emotional selves and the world. 

In the Manomaya Kosha we seek to nourish the mental side of this balance, and as we know a balanced mind will impart resoundingly positive impact on the rest of our being, physical body and beyond.  

Benefits of nourishing our Manomaya Kosha include:

  • Directing and maintaining concentration
  • Making educated choices
  • Acquiring knowledge
  • Steadying our emotions

Vijanamaya Kosha - The Intellect

It is in the Vijanamaya Kosha that we truly start delving deep into our sheaths, under the Manomaya is where we find our subconscious layer of intuition and inner wisdom. 

When we nurture the Vijanamaya Kosha we develop a deep sense of awareness that impacts our emotions, desires, and intentions. It is when we start working on this layer of ourselves that we can start to truly set and control our intentions rather than unconsciously reacting to the world around us. 

A yogic lifestyle, contemplation, and meditation lead to:

  • Clarity of judgment
  • Greater intuitive insight
  • Increased willpower
  • Improved relationships with ourselves and others. 

Anandamaya Kosha - The Flow

This the subtlest element, experienced as bliss or mastery. It is how you flow through life and connect with the world around you. Ultimately, it can become a source of unconditional happiness by connecting to something greater than ourselves. When you practice selfless service, devotion or focused meditation you form higher levels of:

  • Optimism
  • Resilience
  • Sense of purpose
  • Joy of life 
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Salt Power Yoga encourages everyone to nourish every layer of themselves and live optimally. Coming soon to Salt Power Yoga is our Optimal Living program, working with Yoga, Naturopathy, Myotherapy and Counselling professionals to a deliver a holistic approach to self-nourishment.

Through our Discovery Sessions, we provide clients with a holistic health assessment, that helps you explore and understand the different elements in your life. You can book a no-commitment  Discovery Session here.