Pancha Kosa and its each layer yogic practices application.
Taittriya Upanishad covers the Pancha Kosa or known as the Five Sheathes. The Pancha Koshas are the layers of self or the atman. According to this Upanishad, there are five layers of the consciousness of the Atman.
First, Annamaya Kosa, the matter. Anna translates to the word matter. Everything in the world, including self, is made up of matter. The matter is anything that occupies space and has a mass. In Annamaya Kosa, the five elements that form the Anna are Prithvi – earth, Jal – water, Agni – fire, Vayu – wind, and Akash – space. In the practice of yoga, the application of Annamaya kosha is seen in asanas, it helps bring flexibility in the body, build strength and balance, create relief and relaxation, and finally provide physical and physiological fitness.
Second, Pranamaya Kosa, the vital energy. In human beings, the Prana is manifested in the breath. Prana regulates one’s life energy and controls external energy. The Prana is also responsible for maintaining the Annamaya Kosa, as the energy needs to each cell of the body for them to function effectively. The Pranas, in the human body, flows through Nadis, this flow different motions. There are 5 major or Mukhya Pranas: Udana – responsible for all the upward motions, Upana – for all the downward motion, Samana – responsible for digestive movements, Prana- responsible for breathing movement, and Vyana – responsible for the circulation of blood all over the body. The application of Pranamaya Kosa is through various forms of Pranayama which help in facilitating and improving the movement of prana in all the Nadis. Through control of prana, one can attain control over the mind as well.
Third, Manomaya Kosa, the mind consists of perception (Manah), memory (Chittah), and ego (Ahankara). They form the psychological traits of an individual and influence how one responds to the sensations or the stimulus from their environment. The application of Manomaya Kosa is through the practice of Trataka Kriya and meditation.
Fourth, Vignanamaya Kosa, is the intellect or Buddhi, conscience guiding morality and ethics of living. Buddhi is constantly guiding Manamaya Kosa and also forms the basis for human intuition and basic instincts. The application of Vignanamaya Kosa is done through meditation, learning from yogic scriptures, and counseling.
Fifth, Anandamaya Kosa, is the bliss of Moksha where the self has found the final truth. It is a state of silence and harmony, where the self becomes devoid of emotions and bonds. It is the Samadhi final stage of the yogic practice.
Courtesy To: Shrutika Mishra, RYT – 200 Hour