Prana is Vital Energy
Pranamaya Kosha is the name of the part of ourselves that deals with Energy. Prana is a Sanskrit word that means “vital energy.” It is the force within the body that animates or electrifies our being. The idea of Prana (or Qi in Traditional Chinese Medicine) is one of the few concepts that doesn’t have a relative term in Western medicine. The major body systems and organs are defined and recognized in some manner in most ancient, traditional, and modern medical practices. And many healing practices also recognize the more subtle presence of energy.
For some reason, the idea of energy within the body is missing from the modern medical lexicon. Maybe it is because it cannot be seen as a distinct object within the anatomy. Or maybe it is not easy to measure or detect with an instrument, like heartbeat with a stethoscope. It might simply be too woo-woo because we don’t yet fully understand it. To make this more unnerving, most people can relate a direct experience of feeling or using this form of personal, vital energy.
The Sanskrit term “Pranamaya Kosha” may sound like something that is too foreign to understand. Sanskrit names for our yogic postures, practices and philosophies are sometimes used in yoga class. But Sanskrit can sometimes be intimidating! After all, many yoga teachers will guide the class into “Downward Facing Dog” with never mentioning its Sanskrit mouth-full-of-a-name: Adho Mukha Svanasana!
The Sanskrit names for the five Koshas can have a similar effect when we first hear them. It might be easier, or more straight forward to refer to the Koshas as layers that make up the whole person. Our five layers or Koshas, in yogic philosophy are an easy way to broadly categorize parts of ourselves. These layers may overlap and are deeply interconnected. If you ever run across a Kosha coloring book, be sure to color outside the lines!
Koshas are the parts of ourselves, that together, make up the whole person. They are divided in a ways that help us to identify our levels of balance. For example someone who has a physical injury may feel like they are off balance in their physical body (Annamayakosha). Someone who feels happy and relaxed may be in that state because their witness body (Vinjnanamayakosha) has reached a high level of acceptance and surrender. It is through the awareness of these parts of ourselves that we are able to maintain health and well-being.
Yoga can help bring balance back into our lives, and help us keep areas of our lives in balance through awareness and yogic tools.
The Five Koshas:
1. Physical Body – Annamayakosha
2. Breath/Energy Body – Pranamayakosha
3. Psycho/Emotional Body – Manamayakosha
4. Witness/Wisdom Body – Vijnanamayakosha
5. Bliss Body – Anandamayakosha
Come to Tampa Yoga Therapy to focus on the Pranamaya Kosha, the energy body. The approach for this Kosha is to bring more awareness to the inherent energy in the body. You may notice this Kosha includes the name of our breath practice: Pranayama. Breathing is one of the best tools we have to move Prana (energy!) in the body. Our complete practice allows us to move and breathe to help focus, generate, channel, and transform pranic energy.