Food-formed sheath or the gross body (sthula sharira), made up of the five gross elements or bhoothas earth, wind, water, fire, ether which are resolved again into their initial states after death.
▵ The Five Sheaths of the Body
In yoga, we look at the human system as five sheaths or layers. Every aspect of the human system, including the mind, is seen as body, and yoga is a technology to transform it. These five layers of the body are called Annamaya Kosha, Manomaya Kosha, Pranamaya Kosha, Vignanamaya Kosha, and Anandamaya Kosha.
Anna means food. Your physical body or Annamaya Kosha is basically the food that you have eaten – small or big is your choice, but it is a heap of food nonetheless. As there is a physical body that you have gathered from outside, there is a mental body. The mind is not in one particular part of the body – every cell in the body has its own memory and intelligence. This mental body is known as Manomaya Kosha. The physical body is the hardware – the mental body is the software.If you bring the physical body, the mental body, and the energy body into proper alignment and balance, you will not have any physical or psychological ailments.
Hardware and software cannot do much unless you plug them into quality power. The third layer of the body is called Pranamaya Kosha or energy body. Physical body, mental body, and energy body are all in the realm of physicality, but on different levels of subtlety. To use an analogy – you can clearly see that a light bulb is physical. But the light it diffuses is also physical. And the electricity behind it is physical as well. Light bulb, light, and electricity: all are physical but differ in subtlety. Similarly, the physical body, the mental body, and the energy body are all physical but differ in subtlety.
The next layer of the body is a transitory body that is known as Vignanamaya Kosha. It facilitates the transition from the physical to the non-physical. It does not ascribe to any of the physical qualities, but at the same time, it is not yet completely nonphysical either. The fifth layer is called Anandamaya Kosha, which in English translates as “bliss body”. This does not mean there is a bubble of bliss in you. We call it bliss body because in our experience, whenever we touch it, we become blissful. Bliss is not its nature, bliss is what it causes for us. Anandamaya Kosha is a nonphysical dimension which is the source of everything that is physical.
If you bring the physical body, the mental body, and the energy body into proper alignment and balance, you will not have any physical or psychological ailments. I could show you hundreds and thousands of people who have come out of their health issues – particularly chronic ailments and psychological problems – simply by creating the necessary alignment within themselves. It is misalignment that causes all kinds of problems. When the body is at ease, there is no disease.
Only if you bring the first three layers of the body into alignment, there will be a passage and a possibility of touching Anandamaya Kosha, where blissfulness becomes a natural state of being. Not blissful about something in particular – simply blissful because that is the nature of life.
▵ Food Body
Sadhguru: In yoga, we look at the human body as five sheaths. The first sheath is called annamaya kosha or the “food body,” because what you call as the physical body is just a heap of food. The second sheath is called manomaya kosha or the mental body. These two layers can only function in connection with the third dimension, the energy body or pranamaya kosha. You can compare this to computers today – there is hardware and software, but by themselves they cannot do anything unless you plug the computer into quality power.
Pranamaya kosha is the dimension in which most of the yogic practices function. If you keep your pranamaya kosha in perfect balance and fully activated, there can be no such thing as disease either in your physical or mental body. Keeping the energy body in full flow is not about doing healing or things like that. This is about going to the foundations of your energy system and activating it in a proper way by building a foundational yogic practice that establishes your energy in such a way that your body and mind are naturally fine.