Tuesday, 12 March 2013

One thing I’m really coming to realise in my yoga therapy training is that some of the other students in my class have a better understanding of yoga philosophy and physiology than I do.  This doesn’t particularly concern me as I rarely incorporate either into my classes in any great detail, but I’m probably catching up a little bit. 

Next stop… kosas (also spelled koshas).  Never heard of a kosa?  Nope, me neither.  A few of my fellow GCYT students had studies kosas as part of their YTT, but we didn't delve that far into yogic philosophy at Semperviva.  

Kosas, in a nutshell, are layers of human beings.  It’s a fairly basic concept of the steps towards enlightenment, but there are various models for the kosas, some with several layers, some with fewer, so it depends on which model you choose to follow. 

Our teacher employed a six layer (plus enlightenment) model as follows;
  • Anamaya;  The body/physical
  • Kamamaya; The conscious/crude mind
  • Manomaya; The subconscious/subtle/illuminated mind
  • Atimanamaya; The supremental – where Samskaras (deep desires) reside
  • Vijinamaya; Special knowledge, the subliminal level of the mind
  • Hiranyamaya; Subtle, casual level of the mind/instinct
  • Satya Loka; Absolute, universal truth – enlightenment. 

Unfortunately, finding this seven layer model on the internet is apparently IMPOSSIBLE because everyone seems to prefer the five layer model, which looks like this;

The idea is that, over time, your yogic lifestyle will lead you through the Kosa layers.  Diet, asana practice, pranayama and meditation will guide you towards enlightenment…which you may never achieve, but it’s all about the journey, right?!  Most of us will be lucky to develop an appreciation of the first four layers – and that’s a pretty good effort, I think.    

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