As with many arts and systems of philosophy, yoga loves to categorize things 🙂 Though it loves to enjoy the process, it certainly wants to give you a LOT of tools with which to choose your particular journey. One such system of learning and understanding our journey within is through learning and understanding the koshas. Kosha in sanskrit translates literally to layer or sheath, and there are five such layers of the body as outlined in yoga. We often describe the true self as this bright lightbulb, shining endlessly, without wavering, deep within. Layered over this light bulb are these 5 sheaths, or coverings, that; as each is added begin to dim our ability to see that pure light.
As we work through purifying each layer, we have the ability to remove a layer, as though we were a snake shedding its previous skin. One of the beauties of the practice of yoga is that we are able to often work through many of the layers simultaneously, and the hope is that in a few moments, and perhaps longer, we have the ability to connect with that divine light within.
The first layer that we tackle today is the Annamaya kosha: the physical body. In the Annamaya kosha we are talking about our arms and legs, muscles, bones and organs. We think in terms with how we interact with the physical body, whether is be through eating and drinking, our sleeping habits, and of course! our yoga practice on the mat.
In class, we focus on the Annamaya kosha in our connection with moving the physical body through a series of asanas in an effort to allow tension to leave body. When there are less distractions in the physical body, we have more time and energy to focus on the other layers of our being, and can achieve a more balanced sense of self.
If you are interested in learning more about the koshas, and putting them into practice, please check out our Autumnal Equinox Workshop on October 15th, where we will explore each of the 5 layers in depth, and see how they feed off one another!