The yogic anatomist in their classical hay days described and classified the body into the five grosser to subtlest levels. The five bodies thus provide a frame to the anatomy of the body as well as spirit. The five bodies types according to the yogic or Ayurvedic traditions are – Annamaya Kosha (Physical body), Pranamaya Kosha (Energetic body), Manomaya Kosha (Mental body), Vigyanamaya kosha (Emotional/Psychic body), and Anandamaya Kosha (Blissful/Spiritual body).
In talking about the body we have to discuss the level of vibration in the food you eat – from gross to the subtlest. The physical body consumes food in gross level, relives the wastes in the same gross level. The subtle and subtlest provides the nutrition to the subtler levels of bodies.
The physical body is concerned with five sense organs – the ears, skin, eyes, tongue, and nose and the five work organs – hand, feet, anus, sex organs, and voice box. So the physical body constitutes everything that can be seen, dissected, and felt. So, the physical body is associated with every food you consume, every yoga poses you practice and every meditative stance you sit it. Thus the physical governs the other bodies too; as does the other body governs what physical body does. What you eat is what you are.
The energetic body is the place for three Doshas (energies) – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Vata translates to wind and is the energy that determines every kind of movement in the body. It can be correlated to the neurological system of the body. Pitta translates to bile and is responsible for every biochemical change that happens in the body. Kapha is the binding energy, which binds the action of Vata and Pitta in a regulative space. The energetics of the body is comparable to the functions that happen in the cell. The Vata promulgates movement – all the ionic and non-ionic movement that happens between the membranes, and inside the cell. The Pitta catalyzes changes – all the biochemical changes. An example would be the changing of a photon to electric signals by the Pitta that resides in the eye. The Kapha is energy that works as a sort of “Ground” for the concoction of Vata movements and Pitta transformation.
The metal body is subtler than the energetic and the physical body. It constitutes the three mental Gunas, the Satva, Raja and Tama. Satva is light. Raja is active. Tama is darkness and heaviness. There is in each of us all three of these mental Gunas. The Raja is the mental drive and motivation. The Tama provides a subdued and humble state to the mind. While Satva provides a complex intricacy in balancing out both of the Raja and Tama states of mind. A depressive illness would be the one where there is an excessive and uncontrolled increase in the Tama. An anxious state of mind would be where the Raja runs rampant.
The emotional body incorporates the conditions of Sukha and Dukha. Sukha literally translates to good space (Su – Good, Kha – Space); Dukha literally translates to bad space (Du – Bad, Kha – Space). Sukha would be a condition of gaiety while Dukha would be that of suffering. Every emotion in between is also incorporated in the emotional body. The brain has specific centers for pleasure – Nucleus accumbens and stress – Amygdala. However, the concept of Sukha and Dukha transcends the physicality of the
brain. It is something that attaches us to this world and is impedance in the attainment of moksha or Samadhi.
The spiritual body is the one that incorporates the soul (Purusha). It is beyond the concept of Sukha and Dukha. The ancient literature provides an insight to this concept – when the Purusha (the consciousness) becomes free from the worldly comings and goings, happiness, and suffering – it becomes free from the worldly cycle (Samsara) and becomes one with the collective consciousness (Brahma). The Purusha is something metaphysical or quantic of sorts – passing between this realm and the next.
Ayurveda delineates a pathway towards the Yoga between Purusha and Brahma. From how you practice your yoga exercise (affecting the physical body), to what you eat (the Vata, Pitta, Kapha diet and Satvic, Rajasic, Tamasic diet), to how well you control your emotions (mindfulness-based training), and what is moksha. The door to spiritual enlightenment is locked, but the key is in your hand. Whether you capitalize on this opportunity or not determine how physically, consciously, mentally, and spiritually healthy you become.