You’re already familiar with your physical body. It’s called annamaya kosha in yoga, (maya means “made of” and anna means “food” or “physical matter.”) But yoga also makes you aware of a second body, the organising field that holds your material body together. This is the life energy that governs your biological processes, from breathing to digestion to the circulation of your blood. It’s called chi in Chinese medicine and prana in yoga. The ancient Egyptians called it the ka.

The energy body is called the pranamaya kosha in yoga.

When it ceases to function your physical body can no longer operate. Your heart and lungs stop working and your cells begin to disintegrate. In Western culture we strongly identify with our material body, yet without prana supporting and directing it, it can’t survive more than a few minutes.

Yoga devotes an entire class of practices called pranayama to replenishing the vitality of the pranamaya kosha. Exercises like diaphragmatic breathing, the complete yogic breath, and alternate nostril breathing are specifically designed to enhance the proper functioning of your second sheath.

In addition, getting plenty of fresh air and sunlight is essential for maintaining the health of the vital force. Yoga texts explain that the sun is the ultimate source of prana, and it is said that some advanced yogis go for years without eating; instead they simply absorb the prana radiated by the sun. For most of us, however, fresh whole foods are a major source of prana.

Next week we will expand onto the other layers/ koshas that make the human body: mind, intellectual and bliss. Please don’t hesitate in contacting us for further information on the subject. This Saturday’s class will be mostly focused on the first 2 layers. We look forward to seeing you there. Original article here.