The 5 Koshas: Vijnanamaya Kosha

Free 5-Part Mini-Series with Podcast Audio and a Printable PDF

Welcome to part 4 of 5 in our koshas mini-series.

I have created a printable booklet that summarizes all of the key points. To get the booklet — enter your name and email below and it will be sent to you. Feel free to use the booklet in your classes, workshops, retreats and trainings. If you would like to share it with your students, you are welcome to do so.

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5 Koshas Mini-Series

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The five Koshas consist of:

  1. Annamaya Kosha – Episode 23
  2. Pranamaya Kosha – Episode 24
  3. Manomaya Kosha – Episode 25
  4. Vijnanamaya Kosha
  5. Anandamaya Kosha

The fourth layer in the Kosha model is the Vijnanamaya Kosha.

Vijnana is a sanskrit word, when translated, means ability to discriminate, intellect or knowing. In previous episodes, we looked at the physical body (Annamaya Kosha), the energetic body (Pranamaya Kosha) and the mind (Manomaya Kosha).

The vijnanamaya kosha refers to one’s attitude, perceptions, goals, values and even the style of communication used.

Relation to Yamas and Niyamas

Yoga Philosophy

Regarding the eight limbs of ancient yoga philosophy, the Vijnanamaya Kosha relates to the Yamas and Niyamas as well as Dhyana. Some yogis also have drawn connections to the Dharana and Samadhi limbs.

This offers endless ways to bring elements of the Vijnanamaya Kosha into a yoga practice or class.

Vijnanamaya Kosha in a Yoga Class


In a yoga class, focus on the Vijnanamaya Kosha can be enhanced with meditation that concentrates on self-reflection. Meditation in general also helps to become more connected to the subtle awareness, reducing the mental agitation and distractions.

“The normal state of mind fluctuates between distraction and attention, fuelled by internally conditioned patterns and external stimulations.” ~Gary Kraftsow

Pause between Poses

We can begin to notice the sensations and emotions that arise after a yoga pose when we take time to pause before moving on to the next pose. This can be more challenging when we would rather be distracted than go inward.

Student Self-Determination

A healthy connection to the wisdom layer allows students to think for themselves within a yoga class. It is vital for students to connect to their own inner teacher. Usually a teacher is there guiding, but a great teacher gives room for students to feel comfortable to modify or opt out of any part of the class.

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”

Coco Chanel

“Don’t you ever let a soul in the world tell you that you can’t be exactly who you are.”

Lady Gaga