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The 5 Koshas: what are they

July 20, 2015

In yoga, there is talk of 5 koshas or sheaths of the human being that are crossed as we approach the soul, the innermost part of our being. In this blog we explain what they are and in which of each of the 3 bodies they are found. Because although in the West we only consider 1 body, the physical, for yogis, this is only the first of 3 and which is followed, in level of subtlety, by the astral body and the casual body. 1. THE PHYSICAL BODY It is the dense body that is born, grows, changes, deteriorates and whose components return to the earth and the food cycle when it dies. Yogis pay much attention to this body, but it is not to glorify it, but to bring it under the control of the conscious mind and use it for higher spiritual purposes. The physical body has a layer: 1A. ANNAMAYA KOSHA or physical envelope. It is made up of the most basic energy, matter. 2. THE ASTRAL BODY It is connected to the physical body by a subtle cord through which vital currents pass. When this cord is cut, the astral body departs and the physical body dies. The astral body has three layers: 2A. PRANAMAYA KOSHA or pranic sheath. It is made up of 72.000 nadis or astral channels through which prana or vital energy flows. 2B. MANOMAYA KOSHA or mental sheath. It is formed by the automatic mind that receives and processes information from the five senses and with which we carry out the automatic functions of our daily lives. 2 C. VIJNANAMAYA KOSHA or intellectual envelope. In this layer is our ability to discern and make decisions that are then passed to the less subtle layers.
3. THE CASUAL BODY Also known as the seed body, as it stores subtle impressions in the form of karma that control the formation and growth of the other 2 bodies and determine all aspects of the next reincarnation. The casual body has a single layer: 3A. ANANDAMAYA KOSHA or sheath of happiness. Herein reside the experiences of happiness and joy. When we practice yoga, the asanas or postures act directly on the Annamaya Kosha, pranayamas or breathing techniques on the Pranamaya Kosha and meditation on Manomaya y Vijnanamaya Koshas. Thus, each envelope is cleaned and purified until reaching Anandamaya Kosha and allow happiness to manifest in our being.

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