Pancha Maya Koshas

The study of yoga takes a lifetime (or lifetimes). I have spent several years in full-time study of this ancient art and science and yet I’m constantly struck by how much more there is to study and understand. I have far to go (we always do it seems), but I’m encouraged and motivated by the very real ways that this practice has been integrated into my life. Yoga is the lens through which I look. My study and practice have slowly shifted my understanding, attitude, and actions. Life is change. And through yoga I have been able to gently effect and nudge the course of that change in my life. I am indebted to the teachings and my teachers and grateful for my practice.

As I begin the next phase of my study—the study of yoga therapy—I have been drawn more deeply into the Pancha Maya Kosha model. A model that provides us with a way of understanding the human system in its full multi-dimensionality.

Over the past year I have been examining my own life through this model. And in response to this examination have returned to the practice of art making with more intention. I’ve also shifted my relationship with ancient scripture from one of “striving after the perfect understanding” to “seeking a nourishing, experiential understanding.” These changes have allowed me to soften in my work and re-open myself to my creativity.

This month I explored the Pancha Maya Koshas as they are taught in the Taittiriya Upanishad, an important scripture in the tradition of yoga that I study (Viniyoga). And from my explorations I offer you this video. The scripture references a few concepts that I want to make sure you’re familiar with before watching:

Brahman: God as absolute transcendence, the One Ultimate Reality, or supreme impersonal consciousness. Not to be confused with Brahma, the Creator in Hinduism. Or Brahmin, a Hindu priest.

Vayus: The five forces of air. Prana vayu, which governs reception (eating, drinking, inhaling). Apana vayu, which governs elimination (going to the bathroom, giving birth, exhaling). Udana Vayu, which governs growth and transformation. Samana Vayu, which governs digestion (of anything… food, thoughts, etc.).Vyana Vayu, which governs circulation.

Vedas: The knowledge, wisdom, and sacred teachings of ancient India. There are four main Vedic texts: Rig, Sama, Yajur, and Atharva.

Have you worked with the Pancha Maya Kosha model before? What changes have you made because of your examination and self-reflection?

I would love to hear from you in the comments below. And, of course, feel free to share this post. Thank you!

4 Responses to Pancha Maya Koshas

  1. This is very cool. I feel so fortunate to have you as my teacher. 🙂 Also it would make lovely ‘art’ for my yoga room (I’ve thought that of much of your work)…are you making any of it available in that way?

    • Hi Donalee,

      Thanks for your lovely message! I think some of these images would be beautiful in a practice space. I think the same thing about several of the images from the February Magazine. I’ve been wanting to have them printed on a large scale…

      If you really want some of them, send me an email and we can figure out how to make it happen.

      Be well,
      Summer

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