We are more than this physical or gross body that we see through our eyes. We have other four bodies too, subtle in nature. These are energy sheaths and they go from physical to subtle, and subtler forms. The subtle forms are not visible to the eyes but are felt and experienced.
These five energy sheaths are called ‘Panchkosh’. These include our physical body (annamaya kosh, visible to the eyes), prana energy body (pranamaya kosh), emotional and mental body (manomaya kosh), intellect and knowledge energy body (vigyanmaya kosh) and bliss body (anandmaya kosh).
The energies of all these sheaths are intertwined. There is a constant energy exchange between them. For example, as we go through different kinds of thought forms, we feel different kinds of sensations in the body.
The energy of bliss body or anandmaya kosh is experienced when we feel peace and contentment deep inside. The energy of the bliss body moves in tandem with the energies of the other four bodies. Bliss body is most subtle in nature.
When energy gets denser, from subtler to subtle, it collates into an aspect of intellect or knowledge body, vigyan kosh. This is where the mind processes knowledge, aspects of wisdom, discrimination of thoughts such as: ‘ who am I’, ‘what I am not’, ‘what is real, what is illusion’, ‘what I should gravitate towards, what I should avoid’, and so on. This intellect/ knowledge translates as the energy of wisdom in day to day life. Wisdom originating in mind and yielding into a physical action.
Less subtle than the intellect is the mental or emotional energy. The mind governs us, meaning, thoughts govern us as thoughts arise in the mind. Our thoughts govern our emotions (manomaya kosh). Also, our emotions govern our thoughts. We go on to become the product of our thoughts and emotions. If we change our thoughts/emotions, our inner environment changes, ultimately impacting the action we would choose to take in daily life.
The energy of the breath or pranic body (pranamaya kosh) is less subtle than the above three. Here we can tangibly feel the breath, unlike in the case of bliss, intellect/ knowledge or emotion/mental energy.
Energies are Interlinked
As articulated, the five energies are woven into one another as we experience them moment to moment. A change in breath, brings a change in thoughts, also a change in emotions, brings a perceptible change in the way we feel in our gross body, that is, the annamaya kosh.
The physical body (sthul sharir) is the canvas, rather a playground, where the on-goings of the energetic transactions between the sheaths get manifested in tangible form. If the body displays symptoms of sickness or manifests actual illness or, shows afflictions at mental level, it is a reminder that the energy exchange between the five bodies needs attention. A more harmonious work is warranted.
Pranamaya kosh acts as the mediator between the annamaya kosh and other koshas/sheaths. It showcases the difference between the illness and wellness aspects of the body. For example, through the correct way of breathing one can settle disturbed thought patterns. In fact, the rhythm of breath is a giveaway to one’s mental and physical condition. Ever seen breath flow of an angry person? Or breath rhythm of a sleeping baby? Or breath pattern of a nervous person? They differ. An agitated person’s breath is shorter, shallower and quicker
Interlinkage of energies can also be seen, for example, between intellect body and physical body (action). The way one chooses to use their intellect energy, gets permeates through emotions and a corresponding physical action follows.
Journey within the Five Sheaths
A constant human endeavour is to be in bliss and in peace. Invoking this bliss (body), being in a state of peace and alignment calls for constant positive adjustments on thoughts, emotions, breath and care of physical body. The physical body (annamaya kosh) can be kept positively charged with food that is nourishing in the true sense. Nourishing food, in turn, affects all other energy bodies.
Consumption of tamasic nature of food (inert, stale, processed) puts one in tamasic frame of mind causing physical discomfort as well as gap in experiencing true alignment.
All faculties, physical, pranic, mental (thought)/ emotional, intellect is woven in. To enjoy holistic health, one needs to harmonise all these five aspects of the being.
Disclaimer: Urmila Rao is a chakra balancing meditation coach, Theta Healer and a sound therapist. All the ideas expressed herein are her own and not professional advice or medical prescription. She can be reached at email@example.com