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When we cut and cook an onion, it becomes translucent and reveals many aromas and flavors. Its layers reveal its beauty. And so do ours. As we peel back the layers of our being, we delve into the exploration of what we are made up of, what defines us, and what remains once all the layers have been separated and dissected. Why explore beyond our achievements, goals, appearances, and the tangible, physical realms of existence? Why dig deep and observe all the intricacies that create our behaviors and reveal our inner selves?

In yogic philosophy, the pancha-kosas (five sheaths) guide us from the gross outer layers of the body to the subtle innermost layers of the self.

As we navigate the kosas (sheaths), the layers of the self become transparent and we begin to recognize our true nature and inner beauty; we begin to shine. As if visualizing an onion, the outermost layer is the annamaya kosa (physical body) composed of solid matter and nourished by food. This layer is the mass of cells, plasma, tissue, bones, muscles, skin, and filth that make up our physical structure.

The next layer is the pranamaya kosa (energetic body), which is composed of prana (energy) and correlates to movement and air. This layer is the breath and the circulation of oxygen, nutrients, and energy; it is the life force that fuels the body.

The manomaya kosa (mental body) is our mind-field and our awareness of the world as perceived through the five sensory organs. This layer is subjective and defined by personal experience, perspective, mental patterns and thoughts.

The vignanamaya kosa (intuitive body) is our intelligence and our ability to process information with our entire being. When we listen to our “gut feeling” we are tuning into the intuitive body and we are listening to what we know rather than what we think. The subtlest layer of the pancha-kosas is the anandamaya kosa (bliss body), which is the spiritual self. This is the ethereal body and is associated with samadhi, the complete absorption into existence beyond duality where all beings are joined together as one.

Nature. Happiness. Creativity - Share this...One day I was hiking on Snow King Mountain. It was a blue sky day with huge puffy clouds that moved in front of the sun for long periods of time, making the woods shadowy and dark. Most of the trees were tall lanky pines, but one tree was fully rounded and flared out…

 

As we examine and polish our pancha-kosas, we become a translucent orb and we shine brighter. We are able to care for our physical body and live with heightened energy and clarity. We learn how to calm tormented thoughts, decrease mental ailments, recognize displaced emotion, and observe situations clearly without imprinting personal experiences or tainted thoughts into the arena. We listen to our intuition and allow our heart to guide our actions. We can see others and ourselves with a clear lens. From here, we begin to think, speak and act with pure thoughts and intention.

We are spiritual beings that connect through love, compassion, and kindness. We are capable of doing harm and tainting our actions with selfish desires and behavior; however, our true nature is to love and to embrace everyone and everything around us. Through navigating the inner bodies we find our spiritual selves, where the light that is within us shines so bright that it lights up the same light in everyone we meet. This is our true nature. The love and light that is in you is also in me; we are the same and together we can light the sky.

About the Author

Louise Sanseau
Owner of Inversion Yoga, offers insight into the hidden layers of self-revealed through yoga practice. Her studio is at 290 N. Millward, Jackson. www.inversionyoga.com

 

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