Why do we need to know the structure of the subtle body? This knowledge helps us to better understand ourselves and the world around us, to understand where we are and how to improve the quality of our lives.
But how can we make sure that the subtle body exists? From personal experience, if any. If we consider yoga as a science, as a practice, we will definitely refer to the texts of yogis of the past. And in each text they write about prana, kundalini, streams, winds, the subtle body. And all this is. But we can check whether this is true or not in 3 ways:
1) there is a statement in the scriptures about this;
2) there are examples of teachers, people who claim that this is so;
3) our own experience, test the knowledge on ourselves.
Yoga is a deep science. And understanding the structure of the subtle body expands our understanding of yoga and deepens. In the West, many define thin bodies as our psyche. The difference between East and West is that the East believes that a person can be separated from the subtle body, and the West believes that this is impossible.
In various texts on yoga, we indicate the presence of 3 bodies:
I) sthula sarira;
Ii) sukshma sarira;
Iii) karana sarira.
In addition to bodies, yoga considers the shells that make up us. If the body is integral, then the shells are cases, layers, like a Russian doll. In Sanskrit, the shell sounds like a kosh. These kosh 5:
1) anna-maya kosha;
2) prana-maya kosha;
3) mano-maya kosh;
4) vijnyana-maya kosha;
5) ananda-maya kosha.
One kosha enters into the gross body of "sthula sarira", three into the subtle "sukshma sarira", and one into the causal body of "karana sarira". These are certain layers of our being. This is necessary to know in order to better understand who we are.
And also the vayu winds in the body, which are located in the sthula sarira prana-maya koshi, play an important role. So, we will consider all in total.
I) sthula sarira is the highest point. "Sthula" is rude. This is our material body, which we see, hear, touch, smell, perceive by the senses.
1) anna maya kosha. "Kosh" is a shell, "maya" is an illusion, and also "consisting of", "anna" is a seed, or seed. This is our physical body that we feed on food. If a person associates himself with this plan, then he thinks of himself as a combination of physical concepts, everything is at the level of physics and nothing else. At this level, a person can live his whole life. And everything is connected with food, with the needs of the body.
Since we came to the physical world with this body, we need to take care of it in order to realize our mission of life. It is important to understand here that the food with which we form the anna-maya koshu is very important. We need to watch how this or that product affects our life and how it changes our state of consciousness. With a certain type of nutrition, you can improve your practice or vice versa.
Ii) sukshma sarira. sarira is the body, sukshma is subtle. Also called "linga sarira" - this is something that is already beyond the control of the senses. But it is possible to feel it with other organs of perception through practice. Otherwise, this body is called the subtle, or astral, body.
2) prana-maya kosha. This is a shell composed of prana. Prana is vital energy. A finer structure, outside the atomic structure ("prena" - to the atom). When we talk about prana inside our subtle body, we mean the energy that flows through the nadi - energy channels inside the subtle body. It is believed that prana can be felt inside in a state of shock when the whole body is activated. At this moment, a hot wave swept through us, like a current, a heat. This is considered prana activation when the body seeks a way out of the situation. Prana in the outside world can be seen as sparkling dots, for example. For perception, this may also be available.
Here 5 winds in the subtle body play a big role. They are called vayu. Vayu is the name of the god of the wind in Vedic culture.
Winds (vayu) are directions of energy. And the most important wind is apana-vayu.
1.apana-vayu. The property of apana is always to flow down. It is normal, natural and vital that our body can live in this world. We need to deduce what we ate, continue the race, etc. Apana-vayu is very important for the life of the body. Urination, excretion of the seed, the process of giving birth to a baby, etc. When apana is very strong, a person has a strong hold on his legs. Thoughts are mundane, negative habits arise, and we want to serve ourselves more, egoism is growing. How can we influence this flow to deploy apana? How to deploy it? Inverted asanas, padmasana, meditative postures. And the classical texts tell us about bandhas, and more specifically about mula bandha.
Further, rising up, in the abdomen are located:
2. samana-vayu - a stream similar to fire. Participates in the digestion process. Thanks to this wind, we absorb nutrients from food. Helps influence this uddiyana bandha flow.
3. prana-vayu. Located in the chest area. The property of this vayu is to move up. Pranic wind that absorbs oxygen from the air. The classic texts say that the main task is to redirect the apana-vayu so that it flows upward, and the prana-vayu to redirect it to flow downward. And then they unite in Sushumna, and if everything is successful, then Kundalini will awaken. This is one of the classic goals of hatha yoga.
4. udana-vayu - in the region of the head and neck. Provides all the processes of this part of the body. Also provides various siddhis. Moving up.
5. vyana-vayu - the energy that surrounds our body permeates it. Penetrates other winds and makes them work harmoniously. Its other name is aura. It is this pranic flow that can be felt quite easily.
What is knowledge of prana-maya kosha necessary for? And how to feed this area? To work with this shell, to nourish and harmonize it, you need to try to gradually take control of the senses. You can influence this with calm breathing, calm character, self-control in life situations, when it is easy to get us crazy. Many have come across the fact that emotions can be a hindrance to practice. Knowing how to control this will make our practice more meaningful.
According to some yogis, shatkarmas also influence this shell. Performing them, this greatly changes our psychological state. And if we had stress, moods, resentment, after doing shatkarm all this changes, leaves. All this is a single structure, where changes at one level affect changes at another level, in particular in the body.
3) mano-maya kosh. This is a shell composed of the mind. Here are our thoughts, our mind. This is a mental shell. The mind works on the basis of the information that comes from the 5 senses. The mind perceives at the level of sensations, feelings. He collects information, adds up, but does not analyze deeply.
How to influence this shell, how to nourish it? It is very important to observe information hygiene. The information that gets into us, it remains in us, leaves prints. This is all information, music, movies and more. It is necessary to purify the inner world, immersing ourselves in what we need. Before you read something, talk with someone, watch or listen to something, it is important to think about whether we need it. Mantra meditation helps a lot here.
4) vijnyana (vigyana) -maya kosha. The shell of the mind or intellect, that complex mechanism that can make complex decisions without focusing only on feelings, as our mind does. This is a shell that feeds on the essence of information. It is the analysis or reading of deep scriptures that will develop this layer. That is, what makes us think, think. A very useful technique is keeping a diary, where we analyze the events of our lives. So we cultivate our minds by analysis. This shell is cleansed by cleansing the first three, according to some opinions of the yogis of the past. From this level begins the spiritual ascent of man. He is becoming intelligent. At this level, a person begins to understand more the principles of the laws of karma, cause and effect, and draws conclusions.
Iii) "karana sarira" is a causal body. It is believed that it is this that causes the existence of the gross and subtle.
5) ananda-maya kosha. A blissful shell. In many worldview systems, it is believed that the meaning of life a person sees in some kind of happiness. It is believed that, by plunging into this shell, expanding one’s consciousness, a person can feel happy. It starts with the simplest things: both the joy of the child from the toy, and something high, like enlightenment or realization.
All bodies are subject to change. The gross body, feelings, mind, mind are changing. And also happiness. It is believed that there are 3 forms of happiness:
The simplest example is when a child sees a beautiful toy in the store and he is happy. He knows that happiness exists. This is priya. Fashion is when we beg mother, and mother says that in a month, on your birthday, you will receive your gift. That is, we know that soon we will receive this happiness. And promo is when happiness is already in our hands.
So, in general terms, this is the structure of the subtle body.
But where are we? Where is the immutable? It is believed that it is precisely behind the karana sarira that the jiva, the immortal soul that we are, is located.
It is believed that at the ananda-maya koshi level, a person can become stuck for a long time. He is so good at meditation that he does not want to leave it. They say that it is impossible to stay and stay there for a long time, otherwise we will not go further and reach our essence.
This whole system of the subtle body is based on the term "kundalini." It is believed that this is an inexhaustible source within us, which is in a sleeping state, which can be awakened, but do this very carefully if necessary. This is the transformation of the whole being. This energy is located at the base of the spinal column in the region of the Muladhara Chakra. She is often represented as a kind of snake, folded into several rings, which supposedly sleeps and breathes in a dream. And the vapors that she exhales are all the energy that we use in life. And this is the minimum that this snake is capable of, since it is sleeping. And some say that if she wakes up and opens one eye, our body explodes because it is not ready. Therefore, it is very important to be puzzled before cleansing the thin body. And to think about whether special efforts should be made to awaken the kundalini.
The energy channels in our subtle body are called nadi. We have several main nadi:
1) sushumna - the central channel;
Ida and Pingala are intertwined.
Classical yoga sets the goal for the kundalini to go through the sushumna, the core of sushumna. Sushumna - in translation from Sanskrit "sunbeam". He is the middle channel. Pingala is the right channel. It is believed that active solar energy flows through Pingale. When it prevails in a person, then he has a lot of strength, he is very active.
Ida is the left channel. He is calm, he calms, cools. According to the gunas, sushumna is sattva, pingala is rajas, ida is tamas. Moreover, if the kundalini energy goes along either of the two, then strong changes in the body are possible. Those people who have encountered its effects may argue that these are not toys and this is uncontrolled power.
Ida and Pingala are found at the Ajna Chakra level. And only sushumna goes higher to the sahasrara chakra. Therefore, it is believed that it is she who can provide a spiritual experience.
Our subtle body may be contaminated. As long as the nadis are full of impurities, the vayu will not penetrate into them - ancient texts say. Channels can dry out if we do not use them or use them. Therefore, there are various methods for cleansing the subtle body. It is very different and branched. There is an opinion that there are 72000 energy channels; there is an opinion that 350,000. It is important to know that this is a network. And she may be in a different state. Classical yoga offers us to cleanse the nadi through pranayama. And there is even a special pranayama for this - nadi shodhana. It is also believed that, in addition to pranayama, the use of bija mantras is used. And also the cleaning of the physical body is very important and can affect the cleaning of the channels.
It is interesting when during pranayama situations and images emerge, internal dialogues from the past, some conflict situations, unprocessed things - all this is the elaboration of karma. Several solutions are suggested here. On the one hand, you can try to make an effort on yourself and push them aside. The second option is to engage in introspection, to work out the situation.
The sign of a purified subtle body according to Hatha Yoga Pradipika is leanness and light. In "Shiva Samhita" it is said: "The body becomes harmoniously developed, smells good, looks great and causes love for itself."
How to feel your subtle body?
1) You need to try to change your life in favor of yama and niyama, as a kind of security criterion, to comply with ethical and moral requirements, to strive.
2) Shatkarmas, diets, starvation - purification of the physical body. This can really help to feel the subtle body.
3) The practice of asanas is necessary from stagnation of energy, so that it circulates, so that the body is not enslaved. We need asanas.
4) The practice of pranayam is a classic of purification of the nadi.
5) Practice the Ohm mantra. Sound can have a huge impact on humans. The practice of mantras calms the mind, harmonizes the energy within, through its vibration changes the vibration within us.
6) Practice concentration. A great way to feel your subtle body is to immerse yourself in silence. When we disconnect from the whole outside world for a long time and plunge into the small park. The practice of concentration is also very important. Why? There is a quote that we see outside what is within us. And if the Gods do not meet us, then we have not sheltered them inside the heart.
7) It is important that we reach out into the light, upward, and it is important to concentrate on the qualities of the Divine, on the qualities of the Guru, on the exalted, divine. If we surround ourselves with blessed images and concentrate on them, this will give a positive result.
8) And it is also important to regulate the information received, the information environment. All this will affect our ability to feel the subtle.
Such a subtle experience will allow us to teach, practice more effectively. This should not be an end in itself, as Patanjali writes. Siddhi is a dangerous disease because pride can be developed by becoming attached to them. But sometimes a person really wants to be convinced of the truth of the scriptures, to experience all this from his own experience. It's real. And this is one of the goals to establish itself on the path.
The intersection of the three main channels and many, many others are the chakras. There is a point of view that the nadi begin from the navel and end in the cells of the body. There are several approaches to chakras. In practical application in some styles of yoga, when we concentrate, we can feel their effect on the body. They are in the spinal column. But they have their own projection on the front of the body.
There are 2 approaches to chakras:
1. Practical, which we apply, trying to feel these centers.
2. The approach to the chakras as levels of consciousness.
What is the level of consciousness? This is a set of our life priorities, our habits. Depending on which center is more developed, our consciousness will be there. This can change every day. But it is believed that there is a certain dominant level. For each chakra, a person is given 7 years. And with harmonious development at the end of life, he reaches the highest point.
There is no harmony in the modern world, and we constantly jump from center to center. Each center has its own set of chakras. How does this energy manifest? It can be represented as follows. There is a main channel - Sushumna.And there are holes - chakras. Kundalini energy rises from the bottom up. If we have habits associated with the Muladhara Chakra, we manifest this energy. If we learned to control this, then the energy leak closes and the energy rises. Each chakra has its positive and negative sides.
Our task is to achieve harmonization of the chakras and try to raise energy, preventing its leakage. The general principle is that the more emotions we show, the more we spend energy, the more practices, the more energy is accumulated to invest in higher goals. We either raise energy or waste it.
In general terms, such a structure is in our subtle body. And this knowledge really helps us to better know ourselves and the world around us.