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Updated August 01, 2012

Definition: The koshas describe metaphorical layers within the human body. Kosha means sheath in Sanskrit, and the koshas are often likened to Russian nesting dolls or the layers of an onion. Discovering each layer brings your closer to a state of bliss. The five koshas are:

1. Annamaya Kosha The outermost sheath is described as the food sheath and is concerned with the physical needs of the body, like food.

2. Pranamaya Kosha The next sheath is the life force/energy sheath (see prana). It is concerned with the breath and flow of energy through the body.

3. Manomaya Kosha The next sheath is the mind or mental sheath. It is concerned with thoughts and emotions as well as the five senses.

4. Vijnanamaya Kosha is the knowledge sheath. This kosha is comprised of your wisdom, intuition, and perception.

5. Anadamaya Kosha The innermost sheath is the bliss sheath. It represents unending joy, love, peace, and complete happiness.

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