Koshas, like Russian dolls but not quite

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I have finished day six of module two teacher training. Getting into the “subtle body” side of yoga was incredibly interesting today but I often find that it consists of concepts that are so completely esoteric that it is hard to grasp the intended meaning.

The Kosha’s (defined as the five sheaths, or coverings of one’s self) were explained today to be like Russian dolls, one fitting inside the other. As we discussed, the problem with that is that the aren’t linear and don’t necessarily fit in one order. So, are they really like Russian dolls? Or, are they like a pie chart? In that case, the Koshas would be pieces of a tasty pizza pie with no particular order. That part would work. But as a pie chart, that would mean that the Koshas would be mutually exclusive. Perhaps, instead they are a Venn diagram with some circles over lapping and some circles just hanging out on the page on their own. I am just starting to grasp the concepts of the Koshas but I think the Venn diagram idea has got to be the most potentially accurate.

For interests sake, here are the five Koshas:

Annamaya Kosha – physical body or “food body”

Pranamaya Kosha – the energy body encompassing anything that flows through the body like breath or blood

Manomaya Kosha – the mind (which has another whole complicated layering system of venn diagrams in itself)

Vijnanamaya Kosha – the higher mind or intuitive mind

Ananadamaya Kosha – the bliss body or some level of enlightenment

We will leave it at that for now.

Beyond the subtle body, I am finding it hard to believe that there are only two more days left of module two. It has gone by so fast. I am going to miss it but I will be pretty joyful getting a little more sleep and have extras cuddles with my little boy.

Today’s yoga practice was focused on back bends but I have to say it was vashistasana that was my highlight. Side plank makes me feel so strong and we did a ton of them today. Sometimes the physical strength of my asana practice can bring out the emotional strength I have been looking for in the rest of my life. Yes, I am tired, but I am feeling fantastic anyway. I am incredibly thankful that the mid week dip has cleared and I can give this teacher training my full attention once again.

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2 Comments

Filed under Yoga Sutras, Yoga Teacher Training

2 responses to “Koshas, like Russian dolls but not quite

  1. I don’t think of the koshas so much as Russian dolls, but rather as interpenetrating levels of experience. Even a pie chart is too divided. They have been called pancamaya koshas – where maya means “pervading”. (So rather than “sheaths,” which sounds like they’re separate, they’re more like intermingling veils). These levels of being are constantly interacting with each other. Body affects breath, breath affects mind, mind affects higher mind, higher mind affects bliss…and everything in between. Like shallow and deeper currents in the ocean 🙂

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