Today was the start of the Early Morning Intensive: Go Deeper with Pat and JP. Pat started the class with a question to the group, “How do you go deeper as it pertains to your practice?” We all look up sitting on our mats and no one said anything. Maybe it was the early hour, maybe nervousness because we didn’t know what was coming, but we all froze.
This weeks intensive’s theme is “Go deeper” but how does one do that? Students can use the Kosas to help. The Yoga path of Self-realization is one of progressively moving inward, so as to experience the purity at the eternal center of consciousness, while at the same time allowing that purity to animate through our individuality. These five levels are called koshas, which literally means sheaths.
They are often visualised like the layers of an onion. I told you Yogis like to use the onion comparison a lot. Or a new one like five lampshades over a light.
Noa Belling states,
According to the Kosha system in Yogic philosophy, the nature of being human encompasses physical and psychological aspects that function as one holistic system. The Kosha system refers to these different aspects as layers of subjective experience. Layers range from the dense physical body to the more subtle levels of emotions, mind and spirit. Psychology refers to the emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of our being. Together, all aspects make up our subjective experience of being alive.
There are five Kosas:
- Annamaya – body
- Pranamaya – energy, breath, respiration, circulation
- Manomaya – restorative, nervous system,
- Vijnanamaya – intellect,
- Anandamaya – bliss, chanting, freedom.
Annamaya, is key for a student to get to know the body. It would be easier if we were born with x-ray vision but no one I know comes from Krypton so we must use our senses to FEEL our body and learn from movement.
Today we did that to great extent with partner work. The goal was to get to know how your body moves through downward dog. Deep work and very valuable to break down a movement we do a thousand times. We watched each other as we stacked our bodies standing straight up. Then we watched our downward dogs by bending our knees and straightening them so we could achieve a neutral spine.
The Kosas are deep work but so important to every student, teacher and onion.