Annamaya Kosha

Definition - What does Annamaya Kosha mean?

The annamaya kosha is one of the five layers of awareness that veil the Atman, or true Self. Discovering each layer is believed to bring the individual closer to oneness with the universe and the true Self. The annamaya kosha is the outermost kosha, or layer, that feeds the physical body and sustains the other koshas.

The practice of yoga takes the individual deeper into the self through the koshas that make up one's being, thereby bringing one closer to the true Self. In yoga, asanas can affect the annamaya kosha by nurturing the body.

Yogapedia explains Annamaya Kosha

Derived from Sanskrit, kosha means "sheath" or "covering." As such, the koshas are often called the five sheathes. The annamaya kosha, which translates as “sheath consisting of food” or “foodstuff sheath,” is the sheath of the physical. The yogi who understands him/herself within this kosha would define him/herself as a physical body: blood, flesh, bones, fat, and eating and drinking to sustain the body.

Within the annamaya kosha, there are three other koshas:

  • Sthula (physical) ­– where one realizes the taste and importance of food
  • Sukshma (subtle) – where the importance and effect of food is felt
  • Karana (causal) – in which the mental impressions (or samskaras) of food are preserved

It is believed that an individual’s physique as well as their personality traits stem from the health of the annamaya kosha. Although the annamaya kosha is the first and most basic layer of one's self, discovering each kosha is believed to bring the individual closer to oneness with the universe and the true Self.

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