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The Three Bodies and The Five Koshas

In the perspective of Yoga, there is only one imbalance. This imbalance or disease is due to separation and all physical and mental illnesses are symptoms of it. Ātman (soul) ‘appears to be’ covered by five layers. These five layers form the position for mistaken identification of the atman.

According to the yogic philosophy, the human being is constituted by three superposed bodies that are in constant intercalation. Each body is an energetic field that vibrates at a different frequency. As they all contain the soul within they are called the body or śarīra. They are not bodies in the material sense but different realms of existence. The three bodies are the physical body (sthūla sarira), the subtle body (sukshma sarira) and the causal body (karana sharira). The health or illness of our bodies is essentially a reflection of our integration and interconnection between our three bodies. Within the three bodies there are five sheaths, known as koshas, that move from the our skin to the deep spiritual core. The koshas provide a framework for conceptualising ourselves, always starting from the most outer layer and travelling inward. They can guide us and be used as a road map for self-awareness and exploration. You can imagine the koshas as five circles of paper, each slightly bigger than the former and a flashlight lighting behind them. Even though they have their own independence, yet they are truly connected with each other and seem one object when looking at them. The koshas, were first referenced in the Taittirīy Upanishad. The Upanishads are part of the Vedic literature and represent the different dimensions of the human existence.

The Dense Physical Body (Sṭūhla Śarīra)

This body is made of flesh and bone, including tissues, cells, molecules and atoms. It serves as a framework for the other two

To this corresponds the annamāyākosha.

Annamāyākosha: Food/Physical Body