As per Ayurvedic and Yogic philosophy, ‘koshas’ are layer of energetic sheaths that are similar to energy bodies. These sheaths encase the physical human form and regulate the health, consciousness, awareness and many other things about the energy systems in the body.
Annamaya Kosha is the first and outermost layer of our existence. ‘Anna’ means food and this layer is empowered by the food that we eat. Through this sheath with identify ourselves as a physical mass of skin, bones, fat, muscle and filth. It is the most condensed form of energy as it relates to our physical body. This is the first port of entry for us to have access to the deeper energy layers in our body.
Hence its important to take utmost care of this layer or sheath by eating wholesome, fresh, light food which is high in prana. One must also keep this layer healthy with the right exercise, diet and relaxation. To maintain this layer and keep it free from impurities and toxins one needs to stay away from processed, stale, low prana foods and keep it clean by maintaining hygiene in all ways.
When the first layer is well maintained and vibrates with high, positive energy it has an affect on the other subsequent energy layers.
Within the Annamaya Kosha are three other koshas:
- Sthula [physical] where one realizes the taste and importance
- Sukshma [subtle] where the importance and effect of food is felt
- Karana [casual] – in which the mental impressions [or samskaras] of food are preserved.
It is believed that a person’s physique and personality traits stem from the health of the Annamaya Kosha.
Although the Annamaya Kosha is the first and most basic layer of one’s self but discovering each layer brings one closer to one’s true self or the inner consciousness.