Yoga Nidra- A journey through Pancha Koshas to Pure Bliss

To realize that you are not your thoughts is when you begin to awaken spiritually
~ Eckhart Tolle

Seed of thought for writing about Yoga Nidra and the journey within was sown after one of our aerial Yoga classes. As our yogis come out of their Shavasan I give them views to ponder upon. The famous quote from Eckhart Tolle was shared and one my dearest students had me repeat it again, then another students joined in and the conversation was very interesting but we had limited time. The seed however was planted and here I am presenting the tiny plant in the form of a blog.


As we go through life, what we choose to identify with, in ourselves and in the world around us has a profound effect on our inner being. What is this inner being? How are my thought different than me?

To experience the different layers of your person I invite you all to experience Yoga Nidra sessions with me. It is one of the easiest practices to understand and connect with the different layers of your being.

“Yoga Nidra is the yoga of aware sleep. In this lies the secret of self-healing. Yoga Nidra is a pratyahara technique in which the distractions of the mind are contained and the mind is relaxed.” ~ Swami Satyananda Saraswati

As a practice Yoga Nidra is fairly new in the realm of Yoga as we know it, but in Vedas, it is older than the creation itself. Vishnu as Narayan enters Yoga Nidra after the Universe as we know is dissolved. Vedas describe Narayana as the causal principle of Universe. Narayana is the resting form of energy (shakti). In this resting period between the Kalpas (Eons), Vishnu reclines over the deep silent cosmic ocean (Kshirasagara) in the state of divine sleep (yoga-nidra) on the endless coils of serpent Ananta Sesha. The word ‘Anant -Shesha’ in Sanskrit texts, translate to endlessness of that which remains when all cease to exist (depicted by endless coils of Sheshnaga).

In his deep neither awake nor asleep Yoga Nidra state, there is no concept of time, it is pure consciousness. This sleep wakefulness is not bound by Space or Time. Concept of time and space begin with the birth of Brahma, Brahma grows from Vishnu’s navel in the form of a lotus flower, and when Brahma awakens, a universe is manifested.

This story is indicative of the power of Yoga Nidra

Vishnu awake and aware in yoga nidtra| Yoga Nidra classes at Shakti

As a practice, Yoga Nidra in its current form came into being about seventy years ago by Swami Satyananda, a sannyasi and the founder of the Bihar school of yoga.

Practicing Yoga Nidra
Yoga Nidra takes a student on journey of awareness through the Pancha Koshas Pancha (five) Koshas (layers/sheath/covering) . The concept of Pancha Koshas is detailed in sacred Hindu texts like Taittiriya Upanishads.

According to yoga philosophy the five layers (pancha Koshas) surround the human soul.The Upanishads state that our very essence or prakriti comprises of five different extensions, our perishable body (that houses our imperishable and immortal soul) unfolds into more ethereal layers of energy surrounding our spiritual core. The five layers have a wide spectrum starting from the closely packed physical body and evolving gradually to more subtle and sublime levels of emotions, mind and finally the spirit is the last stage of evolution. They act as a layer between the human soul and the cosmic soul. The human soul has to overcome these to become one with the universal consciousness.

Annamaya Kosha

Annamaya is the outermost layer, also know as the food layer. This layer is nurtured, preserved and aided by food intake. It incorporates five organs of perception(sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch) and five organs of action(prehension, locomotion, articulation, excretion, procreation).This Kosha can not survive with out the other Koshas. it is the bodily awareness and understanding of the divinity.

Pranamaya Kosha(vital air layer) or the Energy Layer

This is the vital lifeforce that permeates our body. The breath body; It is the subtle layer of cosmic energy that penetrates and surrounds our physical body. It comprises of the breath, prana, energy the vital lifeforce. Breath/prana is responsible for various functions of the physical body and are indispensable for our life. Movement of body and our mental thoughts are dependent on it. Prana flows in our physical bodies well as between the different layers. Prana is in the form of mental, vital, psychic and spiritual energy.

Manomaya Kosha

Manomaya kosha or the mental energy layer is a lot more extensive and powerful than the pranamaya kosha. This layer encompasses all of our thoughts, feelings, and passions.’Manas’ means mind, the mind and all the five sense organs (eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin) comprise of the manomaya kosha. Also lovingly referred to as tantrumic mind. This layer often finds things to be upset about, the buts and if and because of all. It tends to jump from one thought to the other, (one of the reasons frequently cue closure of your eyes. It is to allow you to connect deeper and not let your tanturmic mind carry you) All kids of pleasures, pains, hurt in our life is is experienced or perceived by our mind and then communicated to all five layers. Mind is the root cause of all, Our bondage and liberation is all in our mind.

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.” ~Buddha

Vijnanamaya kosha or the intellect layer

’Vijnana’ means subtle knowledge or wisdom. Vijnana or intellect is the special ability to discriminate, determine and reason. This layer consists of attaining intuitive knowledge and deep consciousness. Higher mind orients itself towards the soul our innermost being, trying to find the truth and search for eternal consciousness. In this layer the basic awareness of the body and mind is lost, and realization of higher mind is established.

Anandamaya Kosha

Anandmaya or the bliss body layer is the innermost kosha that lies closest to the soul. This layer is connected with unconscious or superconscious mind. It is associated with the state of dreamless state or Samadhi. Anandamaya kosha is the most subtle and sublime layer of human existence amongst all the five koshas/layers. It consists of ananda or pure bliss. Bliss or eternal joy has no connection to body or mind. This state is a combination of all the three divine attributes of the soul; Sat, truthfulness and eternalness, Chit (alive and conscious nature which differentiates the living with the non-living) and Anand(pure joy).

Yoga Nidra, Divine sleep, or the Sleep of the Yogis, will take you through a mind-blowing journey through the pancha koshas, to the inner realms of consciousness. It is a guided process that works towards weeding out all that is unnecessary from your daily life. It brings all Pancha Maya Kosha (five layers of Self) into a regenerative state, connecting you to your divine self, making you relaxed, calm, and joyful.

Looking froward to leading you all In Yoga Nidra

Love and Light Always

Neelam Kataria

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