While Yoga isn’t primarily a “workout,” it balances all types of activities from golf to racket sports to running and weight lifting. It also brings safe, healthy physical activity to those who find themselves sedentary on many days. The reason Yoga helps us feel so good is that it works through what’s known as the five koshas (“sheaths” or “layers”) of our bodies.
The first, most obvious kosha is the physical body itself, annamaya kosha. The Yoga poses (asanas) keep the body both strong and flexible, and assist with balance and coordination.
Deeper than the physical body is the energetic body, pranamaya kosha, which we most easily access through working with the breath in our Yoga classes. A good Yoga class leaves us feeling refreshed with just the right amount of energy – not so much that we feel restless and not so little that we feel exhausted or lethargic.
The next layer is the mental kosha, known as manomaya kosha, which includes our thoughts and emotions as well as our “witnessing” mind, the part of us that knows how to simply be “present” and aware of what’s actually happening moment to moment.
Deeper than this is the wisdom body, vijnanamaya kosha, which contains all knowledge, understanding, and intuition. We experience this when we get a flash of insight seemingly out of nowhere.
The deepest layer, anandamaya kosha, represents deep contentment, peace, even bliss. According to Yoga philosophy, this is the deepest, truest part of who we are. No matter what’s happening externally in our lives or in the world, we always have the ability to connect with this deep inner peace and contentment.
When we do Yoga poses, breathing exercises, and concentration/meditation in a practice session, we automatically access all five of these koshas (because they’re interconnected), cleansing them and freeing us to face whatever we need to face in our daily lives.
Yoga is for everyone! Please practice on your own, or locate a suitable in-person or virtual class to suit your needs. BE well!