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Wednesday, April 7, 2021

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 Spring Yoga Series - The Koshas


The April/May yoga series is studying the yogic model of the koshas within our regular yoga asana practice and meditation.  The kosha model navigates the five sheaths or layers of the human experience and its inner journey.  Starting from the periphery of the body and moving towards the core of the self: the embodied soul.  This may sound esoteric, but the koshas are both a practical and profound contemplative tool that can help you deepen your yoga practice and the quality of your participation in life.


The layers are:


The Anmamaya Kosha - The Physical Body

All aspects of the physical body must be nourished, taking into account individual needs and limitations, as well as the stage of life.  The main yogic tool for this kosha is asana- our physical practice. 

The physical health manifests in 

No aches and pains

Feeling of lightness

Ability to withstand change

Sense of stability and ease


The Pranamaya Kosha - The Vital Body

Our physiological functioning is affected by the flow of prana  (life-force) along its five major currents: prana (inward/upward), apana (downward/out), vyana (from center to periphery), samana (from periphery to center) and udana (upward from heart to head).

The main yogic tool for this kosha is pranayama—breath practices

The balanced flow of prana is reflected in:

Organ function

Sleep patterns

Stress management

Energy and vitality


The Manomaya Kosha - The Intellectual Mind

The mind has a tremendous power to influence the entire system and perceive the world and process incoming information.  It brings in information through the five senses.  The ego can be very active in this sheath.

The main yogic tools are chanting and text studies

The healthy mind can:

Direct and maintain attention

Make educated choices

Acquire knowledge

Retain information


The Vijnanamaya Kosha - The Personality

The personality is formed based on the inherent tendencies and affected by our experiences and conditioning.  It has great potential for transformation.  The main yogic tool is the chakra (energy wheel)  model that can be used as a road map to help us become more:


Intuitive, wise

Expressive, truthful

Loving, connected

Powerful, decisive

Vital, creative

Stable, secure


The Anandamaya Kosha - The Heart Center

This dimension of the heart is the deepest and most profound.  Through the heart we are able to relate to others and find joy and contentment.  Ultimately, it can become a source of unconditional happiness by connecting to something greater than ourselves.  The main yogic tools for this kosha are ritual and prayer

The heart center connects us to: