In our fast paced world, it is priceless to be able to connect with oneself and enjoy some silence, stillness and meditative time. It is only then that one gets to connect and address all the various parts of oneself that if unbalanced can create various discord in our lives such as stresses and diseases.

If you already meditate or do yoga, you will enjoy also knowing about and incorporating the 5 Koshas into your understanding of total self, if you do not already. However anyone can incorporate these ideas for a fuller life experience without having done or doing yoga or meditations.

The 5 Koshas come from the Upanishads from ancient India and are a way of looking at the body as having 5 “sheathes” outlining it, hence the 5 Koshas. The 5 Koshas are said to surround the central true self also known as the soul or Atman.

The Kosha Model was used for yoga healing for thousands of years now. As I stated above, illness or discord can arise in our system whenever we are living out of balance, through the separation at the level of one or more of the Koshas.

Hence in order to attain calm and relaxed happiness that one can term “bliss”, we need to be aware of the 5 Koshas and attain a harmony between them in order to truly balance out the needs between the mind, body and soul.

The 5 Koshas

1. The Physical Body (Annamaya Kosha)

This includes our “solid” body like our tissues and organs.

2. The Energy Body (Pranamaya Kosha)

This includes our “fluid” body such as our circulation and breathing.

3. The Psycho-Emotional Body (Manomaya Kosha)

This includes our “mental” body such as our thoughts and emotions.

4. The Wisdom Body (Vijnanamaya Kosha)

This includes our “cognitive” body such as our intellect and intuition.

5. The Bliss Body (Anandamaya Kosha)

This includes our “spiritual” body that knows it is always connected to God (Source) and hence lives with gratitude, appreciation and happiness in treating life here on Earth as the amazing gift it is.

How to Apply the 5 Koshas

1. The Physical Body

Keeping this Kosha in balance includes properly taking care of our bodies. Our bodies are our vessels and our vehicles while here on this planet to experience the physical realm.

Hence to generate balance at this level one needs to incorporate:

  • Proper nutrition – feeding the body what it needs to function optimally
  • Avoiding toxins – not putting anything into your body that harms it in any way
  • Exercising – move every joint in our body to its full range of motions regularly

2. The Energy Body

To keep this Kosha in balance we need to remember that our physical energy comes from and is driven primarily through our breathing. Once our body incorporates the correct gases into itself it then needs to circulate them around our body.

Hence to generate balance at this level one needs to incorporate:

  • Deep breathing routines throughout the day
  • Avoiding harmful substances that also circulate in the blood stream and hinder the appropriate substances from proper circulation
  • Incorporating regular body movement for enhanced circulation (ex. avoiding long periods of continuous sitting)

3. The Psycho-Emotional Body

To optimize this Kosha, we need to focus on one main aspect and that is the ability to maintain a conscious state by trying to live as much as possible in the moment of now. This allows one to be in control of their thoughts and hence experience emotions as actions rather than as reactions.

Hence to generate balance at this level one needs to incorporate:

  • Regular moments of stillness throughout one’s day to bring ourselves into the presence
  • Bringing awareness to our thoughts and emotions without labeling or judging them and accepting them as “what is”
  • Making conscious intentions of how I want the “what is” thoughts and emotions to be experienced in the moment of now – we give meaning to our experiences

4. The Wisdom Body

Balancing this Kosha involves realizing that we are creative and evolving beings. This life journey involves constant learning and change. We are here to experience ourselves as physical beings and hence it is hindered by being stagnant and resistive to changes and new growth.

Hence to generate balance at this level one needs to incorporate:

  • Minimizing mind numbing media that lead to unconscious or vegetative states
  • Maximizing reading, learning or sharing of new thoughts and ideas
  • Contributing and sharing your “truth” with as many people as possible

5. The Bliss Body

Attaining and balancing this Kosha requires an active and conscious being on our part in order to pull the beauty out of every experience. It is not just about a positive attitude but about living with passion. This Kosha is sometimes the hardest for people to achieve balance in as parts of the other Koshas imbalance interfere with full and proper expression of this one.

Hence to generate balance at this level one needs to incorporate:

  • Gratitude – Having as many of these moments as possible throughout each day from the food you eat to the sky you look upon
  • Appreciation – Understanding that everything in this Universe is interconnected and from God and hence to be looked upon as a precious gift for our experience here
  • Passion – Inviting this state into everything you do as it will give a higher meaning to the above two states

These 5 Koshas envelop the Atman or our true inner self. And by living out the balance between these 5 layers we are able to reach a higher awareness and meaning in this physical realm and embark further toward an enlightened existence.