What is Pancha Kosha in Hatha Yoga?
Yoga therapy is based on the concept of Pancha Kosh
According to the yogic concept, a person has five bodies, more precisely shells (“pancha kosh” – “five shells”). This concept is described in detail in the Upanishads – the ancient Vedic tracts.
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In this article, we briefly cover the main shells, the relationship of the energy structure of the body to yoga and ways to restore health at all five levels.
So, according to this concept, the human body consists of five layers, and the physical body is just one of the visible shells:
1. Annamaya kosh (physical body / physical level).
2. Pranamaya kosa (pranic body / energy or functional level).
3. Manomaya kosh (body of mind / psychic or emotional level).
4. Vijnanamaya kosh (body of intellect or mind / intellect or philosophical level).
5. Anandamaya kosa (body of bliss / spiritual level).
1. Annamaya Kosh
Literally “anna” means “food”, “maya” means “something filled”, that is, in fact, the physical body is “a body consisting of food”. Our body is a transformed food, we are what we eat. We all have experience of interaction with the physical body, it can be felt, touched, etc.
To maintain this body, food is needed. Food in this case is one of the main ingredients, and it is very important what kind of food it is – ideally it is fresh vegetarian food cooked with love in accordance with the human constitution.
Also, for the health and development of the physical body, it is necessary to observe the regime of the day, the performance of asanas (hatha yoga classes) and shatkarmas or shatkriya (purification of the body).
The physical body is only the first, the most coarse shell, and by ignorance we, in the majority, believe that our gross body is us, our “I”.
According to the yogic concept, there are other layers without which the physical body can not exist, and the next is the pranic body.
2. Pranamaya kosh
For the physical body to function, it needs energy, and this energy is supported by prana (“life force”). Without prana, the physical body would have broken up into 5 elements, of which all existent (earth, water, fire, air, ether). Prana is necessary for the operation of all body systems (digestion, blood circulation and all other functions of the body), it is the pranic body that is responsible for all the processes in the body. Prana, life energy is the main sign of life, it is like electricity for the work of an electrical appliance. Prana should be normal, as well as electricity in the device, it’s bad when there are few or many. For example, renite is a disease associated with the fluctuation of prana, in particular, with its amplification. When we sneeze, there is an excitation of prana, and with bronchospasm there is a blockage of prana.
If these violations occur frequently, they descend over time to the physical level – annamaykosha. It is important to understand where the disease is now: in the body at the physical level or for the present at the level of pranamaya, which can be treated without medication.
The energy body has its own channels, called nadi, the special channels through which the prana moves, and these channels are connected with all the organs of our physical body. Each cell of the physical body receives energy from the pranic body. This body can not be seen, it can only be felt (for example, after special breathing practices – pranayama).
To maintain the pranic body (in addition to pranayama), it is recommended to eat healthy, fresh food, and stay in places of accumulation of vitality: in nature, near mountains and ponds.
There are even more subtle bodies, and the next body is the body of the mind.
3. Manomaya Kosh
The body of the mind (“manas” means “mind”) has many different functions, one of which is the maintenance of the two previous bodies (physical and pranic) as a single whole. The mind is our connection with the external world, it is through the body of the mind that we receive all impressions from the outside world. And the more restless the mind, the more restless our life is.
In the Indian tradition, manas is a mind closer to the psyche and emotions.
Emotional reactions are formed in a distant childhood, they are hidden and accumulated. Emotions are manifested when we meet with a situation that is based on our past experience and unprocessed fears and fears. Any situation is based on the past.
If there are emotions (fear, fright), then there are changes in the body. Stress is manifested at the emotional level, it strongly affects the disease of the spine, people experience the severity and pain in the spine. When people “pull on their shoulders” – this is one of the causes of cervical osteochondrosis. Often anger manifests as an allergic reaction. Any disease has some emotionally provoking factor. It is necessary to learn to look at the path of the development of the disease, with what problems it all began.
In yoga it is believed that from the control of the mind begins the control of one’s own life. It is important to be able to stop the rapid flow of thoughts and return to the state of “here and now”, at the present moment.
To maintain the body of the mind in harmony, yoga, prayer, singing of mantras, meditation are recommended. Also one of the perfect ways to purify the mind is yoga-nidra (this is a part of pratyahara, ie, the abstraction of consciousness from physical objects).
The next shell that permeates and supports the body of the mind is the body of the intellect (the body of the mind).
4. Vijnanamaya kosh
This body gives the ability to distinguish, understand good and evil, analyze the information that is received from the body of the mind. If at the level of the mind we make decisions on the principle of “like – do not like”, then at the level of reason we are more aware, here comes an understanding of what will bring us good and what is not. The development of this body allows you to hear your intuition.
This is the level of intelligence or philosophy, at this level is our ignorance and ego, which in the process of life we must overcome.
Congenital traits, qualities of a person’s personality are already subject to certain diseases. For example, a person of type A is ambitious people, they need something to achieve in life, they are workaholics. They need to be taller, richer. Consequently, they are constantly in a state of stress and can not relax. So, there will be problems with health. They are afraid of losing their position and are trying to go further and further. The attitude of a person to life is an important aspect of his health. In stress, the body is constantly tense. Stress affects the limbic cortex, which in turn provokes muscle spasms and autoimmune reactions in the body.
Ignorance is a misunderstanding of life’s goals. A philosophical approach to life is necessary. Why do we do this? Why are we running somewhere, tearing? What is our true desire? Why did I come to this world? Why am I here? Who am I? We need to learn how to set life goals correctly. This is yogic philosophy. It is practical and vital. Learn to experience life from happiness, not sores. The correct philosophical attitude to life is when a person is happy, joyful. Then he can achieve absolute health!
It is useful for the body of the intellect to read spiritual literature, study the life of holy people, as well as satsangs (conversations on spiritual topics), pilgrimage to holy places, communion with holy people.
And the thinnest, highest level of our body is the body of bliss.
5. Anandamaya Kosh
This body is full of joy, the body of bliss. No one can influence this body, destroy it. It is believed that samadhi is felt in this body, in anandamaya kosh. This is a direct connection with your “higher self,” this is the body of light, the soul itself. At this level, it is important to have a deep understanding that everything around is a manifestation of God, that everything except the soul is temporary and that the most important thing is that inside, not outside, that it is important to develop selfless love in the heart and serve others (karma -yoga).
This is the location of the soul / consciousness. If the soul is in place (svastha, “sva” – soul, “stha” – its place) – this is absolute health. The goal of health is to bring the soul to the right place. In the body trillions of cells, they live from a few seconds, hours, days, weeks, etc. Harmonious and balanced work of cells and organs in the human body is carried out under the control of the soul / consciousness.
According to the yogic concept, each body is controlled by a previous, more subtle body. Thus, most psychosomatic diseases begin in manomaya kosh, this affects the pranic body and then reflects on the physical body in the form of a disease.
It is believed that if treated only with pills, the disease will not go away at all, it will persecute, since the cause / root of the disease itself has not been removed. Official medicine treats only the physical body. In yoga therapy, it is considered that the physical body is controlled by the rest of the bodies, and until we balance them, the physical body can not be cured.
And for this you need:
– at the annamaya kosha level (at the physical level): yoga diet, day regimen, shatkarmas (cleansings), hatha yoga classes;
– at the level of pranamaya kosh (at the pranic level): pranayama classes, fresh food (rich in prana), stay in nature;
– at the level of Manomaya kosh (at the level of the mind): contemplation or meditation, yoga-nidra, repetition of prayers or mantras;
– at the level of vijnanamayya kosh (at the level of reason): satsangs – conversations with the teacher, reading of spiritual literature, communication with holy people;
– At the level of anandamaya koshi (body of bliss): karma yoga (do not become attached to the fruits of your labor, that is, did – and do not wait for reward) in combination with bhakti yoga (service to others), the development of love in the heart.
These are such yogic “tablets” that are “discharged” in different proportions depending on the particular person and his problem. But even more important is prevention in order to avoid these problems, that is, every day you need to do a little for each level: several asanas, pranayama, walk in the open air, contemplation or meditation, prayer or mantra, service.
It is important to take care of your body, more precisely, about all five bodies. This will avoid stress, overexertion and disease.