Panchamaya Series: 5 Layers of the Self 

with Margo Sorum, C-IAYT


Human beings are complex. We have a body, but we are more than our body. We have a mind, but we are more than our mind. Through the Vedic tradition, the complexity of the human being is revealed in the Taittiriya Upanishad through a five layered model called the Panchamaya Model. In this series we will explore the five layers, or koshas, of this model and build a vast tool box of yoga techniques to optimize your experience of being human. This is the foundation of Yoga Therapy as recognized by the International Association of Yoga Therapy.

Whether you are a new student of yoga, or a seasoned yoga teacher, you will gain personal insight into how to read your body physically, organically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. You will learn how to thoughtfully design yoga practices to support your human experience on any given day, month, season or year by becoming sensitive to the multi-layered being that you are.

In this 5-week series, we will navigate our way through the 5 Layers of Self; the Koshas. This system will guide us towards identifying the fundamental habits we need to reinforce on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis to connect to our true Self: Ātman. This road map is the foundation of yoga therapy and is structured to help you make the changes necessary to move towards your heart's deepest desire.

Class 1: Annamaya (physical) Kosha

Yoga asana helps us to become more aware of our bones, muscles, joints and ligaments. As we increase our awareness of our unique skeletal needs, we can intelligently self-diagnosis the best forms of exercise and movement practices for our long-term well being. Often times our intentions to “exercise more” get derailed because of poor body mechanics, over-exertion, and lack of enjoyment in the exercise we believe we should be doing. Together we will explore what a sustainable, joyful, and nourishing movement practice looks like. Expect a fun, energizing, breath-centric asana class.

Class 2: Pranamaya (vital energy) Kosha

Prana, energy, is the vital force that animates the body and gives it function. It regulates the physiology of the body – circulation, respiration, digestion, excretion, movement, reproduction, hormonal function and more. In this workshop we will focus on improving our gut health. When our gut is in good working order, we have vitality and a feeling of inner cleanliness and abundant energy. This workshop will give you the movement tools necessary to upgrade your digestive system for optimal well-being.

Class 3: Manomaya (mind) Kosha

The mind is complex. It is pulled in many different directions by three universal energies called the gunas. In order to understand the mind and how it works, we must reflect on the gunas.

Sattva guna is the energy of balance, harmony, peace and equilibrium. When this energy is dominate we experience a calm, uncluttered mind with clear perception. The goal of yoga is to have a sattvic mind.

Rajas guna is the energy of activity and creativity when it is in balance. When it is out of balance, the mind is over-active and emotionally the body is triggered into fight or flight mode. Common emotions associated with this guna are anger, irritation, resentment and rage to name a few.

Tamas guna is the energy of stability. However, when it is dominate, a state of dullness and inertia set in causing depression, emptiness and melancholy to be the state of mind and can spiral into the freeze and submit mode.

In this workshop we will use the guna model to help us navigate our emotions with more grace and ease. Expect a fun, reflective, breath-centric asana practice.

Class 4: Vijnanamaya (personality) Kosha

Personality is the deeper, often unconscious, wheel that drives our thought processes and behaviors. This is the dimension of our habits, patterns, attitudes and values. We are all born with innate qualities and as we become more aware of this we can consciously choose to change or develop those qualities. The experiences we have in life shape our personality for better and for worse. When we become aware of these influences we can consciously choose the best possible interpretation of our experiences so we can grow and transform. In this workshop we will enjoy a self-reflective practice to align with our highest self. You will leave with tools to help you maintain an anchor and deeper connection to your highest self.

Class 5: Anandamaya (bliss) Kosha

Our heart is nourished by joy. Our heart is the home of our emotional experience and is the dimension closest to the soul. We will explore the power of personal ritual to nourish our souls and to find daily joy. You will leave this workshop inspired to develop your own personal rituals on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis to spark more joy into your life.

What to expect in this immersion:

  • Subtle Body & Gross Anatomy
  • Reinforcing Natural Posture
  • Each week themed on a layer (kosha)
  • Full Spectrum yoga practice (meditation, breathing techniques, postures, chanting) based on the kosha of the week
  • Integrative Methods
  • Ritual