The Five Koshas or layers according to Yoga by Marcia Leite
Throughout the years I am quite often asked by beginners or novices if I teach pranayama. The answer is yes and no. Yes, because bringing my students to be aware of their breathing is the beginning of the journey towards the complex proper pranayama work. And no, as Pranayama (breath control) is an advanced, subtle practice. According to B.K.S. Iyengar pranayama is an advanced practice only to be taught to the student/practitioner who has developed awareness of his breathing and understands how it works together with the integration between body, breath and mind that is required for such practice.
With this in mind, I have written this article to enrich your knowledge of Yoga in a more meaningful manner.
When we learn Anatomy of Yoga, we learn much more than the physical body and its bones, muscles, tendons etc. Yoga explains our anatomy based on the Five Koshas or Five Layers of our existence, with the material world being our outermost layer moving in to the core of the self or our innermost layer.
The most important thing for now, before you carry on reading this article as well as practising yoga is “NO HURRY”:
“An unhealthy body makes it very difficult to engage in the advanced practice of yoga. In Hatha yoga the body is compared to a clay vessel that hasn’t been properly fired. A baked clay vessel can easily hold water and even keep it cool and pure. In this context the water represents the inner process of spiritual transformation which ultimately leads to enlightenment”.
George Feuerstein “The Lost Teachings of Yoga”, CD 1, Session two: “Hatha and Raja-Yoga”
The Koshas or layers are a practical as well as a contemplative tool to enhance your practice of yoga