What is a Kosha?

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A kosha, or ‘kosa’ in sanskrit language represents a sheath covering the Atman or Self. This is a belief originating from Hindu philosophy. There are five koshas in the Self, each one can be pictured like the layers of an onion. Each of the five layers play a crucial role in our existence. Imagine your five koshas being a Russian doll, a smaller layer inside of a larger layer and so on.

Here is a list of the five koshas in sanskrit and english…

  1. Annamaya kosha is the sheath of the physical body. This layer identifies with the mass of skin, blood, muscle, fat, and bones. When you eat healthy, sleep well, and work out you are strengthening your physical self.
  2. Pranamaya kosha is the sheath of energy or breath body. This is your vital organs and powerhouse of the body utilizing air. This layer is a natural movement of breath being inhaled and exhaled. Mindful breathing can be helpful to maintain a healthy second kosha.
  3. Manomaya kosha is the sheath of the mind. This is your conscience and subconscious at play in your third kosha. This layer is known as your personality, morals, and values for life. Naturally, your knowledge of doing the ‘right’ thing.
  4. Vijnanamaya kosha is the sheath of wisdom. This layer describes your intellect, perception, and willpower. To maintain a healthy fourth kosha, recognize the person you perceive yourself to be. Hold onto the lessons that life has to teach and you will grow more wise every day.
  5. Anandamaya kosha is the sheath to eternal bliss. This layer completes the five layer of koshas for a complete and blissful life. The fifth kosha describes an infinite world for the self. It can also be referred to your connection with a Divine power inside of this last kosha.

This Hindu philosophy has brought an incredible awareness for who we are in this vast Universe. It is a clear understanding for the certain things in life that we feel and cannot always explain about ourselves. To understand our individual Self, we can successfully live a happy, healthy, and balanced life. Yoga Nidra is a form of yoga that is a great class to attend to fully understand how we can bring awareness to these five layers of Self. Check your local studio on Places to Yoga and see if they offer a Yoga Nidra class. All you need to do is bring your mat and lay down for an hour to learn the magic of your true Self!

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