Panchakosha Meditation or Five Sheaths Meditation
Guru Dutta

June 17, 2020

What are Panchakoshas?

Yoga doctrine teaches that the individual soul or atman works through five bodies or sheaths called the Panchakoshas. This idea, explained from the Taittiriya Upanishad, provides you a map to understand your authentic self. You're a multi-layered being, from the physical body to your delicate bliss body. The physical, tangible body is just your external ego, such as your outer peel. Stripping away this layer exposes a slightly more subtle layer, the pranic body. Yet another layer inward is the mental body, then the intellectual body, and ultimately the bliss body. The innermost core is itself, or the atman.

Each sheath could be transcended through yogic practices. As one works through the five sheaths, one stops identifying oneself with these layers, be the body, mind, or intellect, and instead start to recognize your real and true self is beyond those five layers.

Knowing the layers of one's being is vital to getting happiness and achievement in life. If you are not able to recognize your true self, then you will forever live on a surface level, slave to your needs, and an illusory understanding of the world.

The five sheaths are listed as follows, from the outmost into the innermost layer.

- Annamaya Kosha (Physical)

Annamaya kosha (sheath of food) is our physical body consisting of blood, bones, muscles, and organ system nourished by the food we consume. This stays in a state of equilibrium only when these are in synchronization both structurally & functionally. That can happen only if we eat the right sorts of food suiting our constitution, season, mind & surroundings.

- Pranamaya Kosha (Breath)

Pranamaya kosha(sheath of vital airs) is a subtler sheath that may be just felt, but not seen by our naked eyes when compared to Annamaya kosha. This Consists of Prana or Chi or Energy or Breath as you call it. It's nourished by the respiratory breathing that's far more essential than our meals and the outside energies in the environment. This sheath is accountable for all our physiological functions namely breathing, digesting, metabolizing blood flow, endocrinal, neural, skeletal, muscular, etc..

- Manomaya Kosha (Head )

Manomaya kosha(sheath of thoughts & emotions) signifies the much subtler sheath than Pranamaya kosha. It can be seen or felt like the earlier two sheaths or koshas. The mind consists of emotions, ideas, memories, and feelings. These elements of the brain affect our physiology, relationships, responses & efficacy directly. This sheath is brought into a state of equilibrium by understanding and soothing our emotions in a far more balanced manner.

- Vijnanamaya Kosha (Intellect)

Vijnanamaya Kosha(sheath of intellect) is nothing but our intelligence & wisdom. This intelligence helps us to utilize the earlier three sheaths appropriately by providing us the discriminative capability to differentiate between the right & wrong, positive & negative. In addition, this is the sheath of cognition, conditioning & de-conditioning our core remarks.

- Anandamaya Kosha (Bliss)

Anandamaya Kosha(sheath of bliss) as mentioned before is a state of the ideal balance of all of the aforementioned sheaths of living. This is achieved through NATURAL HEALING SOLUTIONS.


See: Panchakarma

Tools for getting balance of Panchakoshas

What are the tools to get the balance of those five Sheaths?

The table given below gives you a brief about the tools needed or utilized to bring in a state of equilibrium among the aforementioned sheaths.

- Annamaya Kosha (Sheath of meals ): Wellness lifestyle, Holistic Diet & Nutrition, Yoga Asanas, Herbs & Herbal remedies, herbal medications, Contemporary day Pharmaceuticals, Therapeutic healing massage, Therapeutic physical treatments, Hydrotherapy, Acupuncture, Acupressure, Aromatherapy, Reflexology, Ayurvedic panchakarma therapies, and many others

- Pranamaya Kosha (Sheath of Critical airs): Wellness lifestyle, Acupuncture, Acupressure, Reflexology, Yogic pranayamas, Aromatherapy

- Manomaya Kosha (Sheath of Mind & Emotions): Wellness lifestyle, Favorable mental attitude, Emotional health through Aromatherapy, Counselling, Acupressure, Acupuncture, Meditation, Prayers, Healing massages, herbal remedies, Holistic diet, and Nutrition diet & Nutrition

- Vijnanamaya Kosha (Sheath of intellect): Wellness lifestyle, Meditation, Ayurveda, naturopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine,  yoga, and meditation.

- Anandamaya Kosha (Sheath of bliss): Wellness lifestyle, Meditation, Ayurveda, naturopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine,  yoga, and meditation.

See: Nadi Shodana Pranayama - Alternate Nostril Breathing

Panchakoshas Meditation benefits

Ancient sages have explored the inner depths of our being, and given us the understanding of the Pancha Kosha (five sheaths), that addresses each level of an individual being. The path of yoga is a journey towards the realization of one's true character. The Pancha Kosha meditation takes you on this trip by gently taking your focus on the five sheaths. The Panchakosha meditation comes from India and represents five shells or layers which apparently hide the Atman (the true self). This meditation peels back the layers, showing the real self of Love, Peace, Joy, and Harmony.

See: Yoga for Diabetes Type 2

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