To begin our investigations into ourselves, and the way Yin Yoga affects us, we will adopt a very old but still useful model: the koshas. In the Taittiriya Upanishad  a model of our self is given. Each layer of our being is described as a sheath, or a bag, called a “kosha.” Five such sheaths exist, each one being more subtle than the previous. They are like layers of an onion, or a child’s toy of nested dolls stacked one inside the other.
The layers are
- The annamaya kosha the physical sheath
- The pranamaya kosha the energy sheath
- The manomaya kosha the lower mind sheath
- The vijnanamaya kosha the higher mind sheath
- The anandamaya kosha the bliss sheath
Inside the final sheath is our true being, which cannot be described in words, only experienced.
While the kosha model is a rather primitive and early attempt to describe ourselves it is a nice simple way to investigate how our bodies work and how yoga affects us. Following this simple model we will investigate our first three sheaths and see how the Eastern and Western views compare.