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Yoga Nidra and the Five Koshas

Updated: Jul 11, 2020

By Allison Ray Jeraci

Photo by Andrea Killam

Yoga International

The meditation practice of yoga nidra, or yogic sleep, is based on the five main bodies, or koshas, as discussed in the yoga scriptures. These layers, sometimes called sheaths, include the physical, energetic, mental/emotional, higher intelligence, and bliss bodies. As described in the scripts of yoga nidra, each layer comes into prominence, one at a time, and then settles into place, leaving the practitioner undisturbed throughout the meditation.

Imagine for a moment that you and four friends are in line to meet your favorite celebrity. The celebrity greets friend A, who happily geeks out and then is content after the encounter. Next, friend B gets celebrity time and immediately has to sit down to calm their nerves after the excitement but is also content after meeting the celeb. Then the celebrity meets your two other friends, who also feel fulfilled by the meet-and-greet, and go off to process it. But the celebrity has to leave before you have a chance to meet them. This sequence of events leaves you bothered and disappointed. If the celebrity had spent time with all five of you, you would be chatting away, content and unified in a shared experience. But when you are left out, there is a discord, something not quite right.

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