In the philosophy of yoga there is five sheaths of our being known as koshas. These are layers that move from our outer being to our inner self. They are:

Physical Body- known as annamayakosha which is our form, our muscles, organs, skin,etc and the vehicle that encompasses our spiritual essence. This is also where we experience the five senses: what you see, taste, hear, touch and smell in your day-to-day experiences. Becoming aware of the stimulus coming in is a part of the yoga practice.

Energy Body- known as pranamayakosha which is our life-force energy that moves through us via our breath. It fills us with energy and the practices of pranayama (breathing exercises) are how we incorporate yoga as a way of expanding and balancing our energy.

The Mental/Emotional Body- known as manomayakosha this includes our thoughts, our emotions, our beliefs, memories and our ability to think clearly as well as process emotions in a healthy manner. Yoga brings balance and tools for moving through all your mental/emotional stages of being.

Wisdom Body- or vijnamayakosha moves you into the witness consciousness and accesses your intuition. It is that deeper knowing that you have when you go through the ah ha moments of your life. It is those times when you trust your gut.

Bliss Body- known as anandamayakosha is the highest experience of joy possible. Beyond the senses it connects you to your spiritual essence and you get a feeling of timelessness when you tap into it. In savasana it is the experience of a bigger energy encompassing you as you release all the other parts of your being. Or when you are immersed in nature and you get a feeling of being connected to all of life.

It is easy to go through life disconnected from the wisdom body and your bliss. The day-to-day responsibilities and challenges can weigh you down. Yoga invites you to integrate all parts with awareness. Just starting my day with breathing practices and meditation connects me to this deeper stillness within. I become more aware of my intuition and my spiritual essence as I invite that to guide me. I engage more with presence when I am integrating ALL parts. It takes practice and that is why they call it a yoga practice as well! I invite you to commit to your own practices of yoga so you can live more fully, more wholeheartedly.

Janie Gunn