The Kosha Model
Annamaya kosha – your physical layer. Also known as "food body" or "physical body".
Pranamaya kosha – physiological or energetic layer. Also known as "subtle body", "energy body", or "breath body".
Manomaya kosha – psychological or the mind layer. Also known as "mind body".
Vijnanamaya kosha – wisdom body or intuitive layer. Also known as "wisdom body" "knowledge body" or "Intuitive body".
Anandamaya kosha – bliss body or layer. Also known as "Union" or "Everything"
Koshas & Mental Health
Kosha translates to "sheath" in Sanskrit. According to ancient Vedantic philosophy, the five sheaths provide a framework for understanding the innermost self, or Atman, which is Sanskrit for the spirit or soul. Learn about the five koshas and how to access them in your yoga or meditation practice.
Once you understand the basic kosha structure, it's important to understand how to use them during your yoga practice. When the body is imbalanced (your mind is racing, you are stressed, anxious, depressed, etc), using the kosha model to bring homeostasis, or balance, is a great approach.
There are different ways to approach our yoga practice as we engage our mind, breath, movement and more. We could enter through different kosha bodies as we work through the healing process. Is your mind racing? Then try entering through the breath body or focus on movement, and enter through the physical body, helping your mind body refocus away from your racing thoughts and onto your breath and/or body.