koshas + kleishas

Recapping our yoga term 3 focus on the koshas and the kleishas.

The 5 koshas (sheaths to our being) are the physical body (annamaya), our energy body (often referred to as our chi, or prana, life force - pranamaya), our mental & emotional body (manomaya), the discerning intellect (vijanamaya) and the most subtle body, that of our true nature – experienced as pure bliss & joy (anandamaya). Understanding these and giving attention to each of them allows you to have a fuller sense of your self as more than a 1 dimensional physical body.

The 5 kleishas are the obstacles we face, as humans, to living our lives with contentment (I prefer this to happiness) and ease. They are the causes of suffering in life and vary in how they affect each of us. Some may not cause you any problems however others may cause you excruciating pain in how they present blockages in your life and holding you back from what you want to achieve and from living how you want to live.

The first, is avidya (ignorance in discriminating between what is real and unreal) and underlies each of the others; asmita (the ego) which can cause us to be stuck with a self-image that is not a reflection of our true selves; raga (attachment), where we desire things which don’t benefit our lives and can become varying forms of addiction – to substances, activities, environments for example, which trap us in an endless cycle of misery or discontentment; dvesha (aversion) is the obstacle which causes avoidance of things we don’t like (experiences, people, activities, environments). Also causing suffering as we need to be able to participate in these aspects to live our lives fully. The final kleisha is abhinivesha (clinging to life or fear of death) which is the most difficult obstacle to for us to overcome. As humans our innate desire is to stay alive. This kleisha is about acceptance and letting go, knowing life will continue regardless.

Our yoga and meditation practice help us in experiencing, understanding and balancing the koshas and kleishas. Through self enquiry and self awareness we begin to experience our true nature and live from that place of kindness, love and joy.



5 WEEK INTRO TO MEDITATION COURSE starts Sunday 10th September. Register below: