"getting to know you" by Sally Kempton

In recovery mode after a massive headache this afternoon I started paging through my May 2009 Yoga Journal. (Isn't it funny, I found this Yoga Journal on the kitchen table under bunches of old mail... and it's April 8... and I have the May issue already. Interesting how magazines have the ability to tell the future...)

I stumbled upon two amazing articles that nailed on the head a couple of things that have been roaming around my brain for the past few weeks (read: bugging the heck out of me). The first was called "getting to know you" by Sally Kempton and the other was "he!p wanted" by Phil Catalfo.

Both were very well written but it's the "getting to know you" one that is easiest for me to take notes on. :)

Kempton writes about her quest from her early twenties into that all-encompassing question, "Who am I?" and how her yoga practice led her to discover a new way of thinking about answering that question.

In the Taittiriya Upanishad, an ancient Tantric yoga text, a human being is described as having five sheaths, or koshas, that interpenetrate each other, encasing the soul like the layers of an onion.

She goes on to describe, in detail, the five sheaths:

  1. Annamaya Kosha - the Physical Sheath

  2. Pranamaya Kosha - the Vital Energy Sheath

  3. ManoMaya Kosha - Mental Body

  4. Vijnanamaya Kosha - Wisdom/Awareness Body

  5. Anandamaya Kosha - Bliss Body


I don't know what struck me about the article, other than it gave me a shift in perspective in how I've been looking at things for the past few days. I think you could have guessed that the ultimate goal is to get to #5 - Bliss, and after that, is to be able to move through all of the koshas and feel/recognize each of them at once.

And, shocker, the way to tap into these -- meditation and yoga.

I need to get back on my mat! :)

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