Five Pillars Yoga

YOGA 101: The Koshas

Did you know that, according to yoga, you have five bodies?

In yoga, we call the layers of our beings koshas. During our practice on and off the mat, we can begin to sense that we have several aspects of our beings.

  1. The physical body: skin, muscles, ligaments, joints, bones, vital organs
  2. The energy body: breath, heat, pulsing, streaming, tingling sensations
  3. The personality body: thoughts and emotions, direct response to sensory stimulation and environment
  4. The wisdom body: the non judgmental observer within, also known as intuitive awareness
  5. The bliss body: light, clarity, inner peace, unconditional love

And, when we begin to cultivate nonjudgmental self awareness and observe the layers of our being with non attachment, our hearts open… and deeper healing occurs.



The five progressively subtler bodies that compose our personality are described in a yoga classic called the Taittiriya Upanishad:




“Human beings consist of a material body built from the food they eat. Those who care for this body are nourished by the universe itself.

“Inside this is another body made of life energy. It fills the physical body and takes its shape. Those who treat this vital force as divine experience excellent health and longevity because this energy is the source of physical life.

“Within the vital force is yet another body, this one made of thought energy. It fills the two denser bodies and has the same shape. Those who understand and control the mental body are no longer afflicted by fear.

“Deeper still lies another body comprised of intellect. It permeates the three denser bodies and assumes the same form. Those who establish their awareness here free themselves from unhealthy thoughts and actions, and develop the self-control necessary to achieve their goals.

“Hidden inside it is yet a subtler body, composed of pure joy. It pervades the other bodies and shares the same shape. It is experienced as happiness, delight, and bliss.”

Go deeper with this article by Yoga Journal: You Are Here.

And check out this article by Kripalu: Healing Anxiety and Depression: An Ayurvedic Perspective.

(Selection take from article originally published at, Image taken from