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Chase Bossart Yoga & Meditation Weekend: Pancha Maya: Annamaya

The following are the notes from the weekend with Chase Bossart. He has been studying yoga as a personal student of Mr. TKV Desikachar for the past 18 years. During that time he has made numerous trips to Chennai to study at the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram (KYM) with Mr. Desikachar and his son Kausthub.  He is an amazing teacher and I am lucky to have a chance to study with him.  The subject is enormously wide. I’ve heard it quite a few times by now.  Even thought, it’s becoming more familiar after a few years of studding and practicing, it is still new and exiting. I hope you can get some good information as well.

This first blog will cover the Pancha Maya five dimensional system to represent the human system. This is the heart of a yoga practice.  According to this model, we are comprised of five dimensions or layers:

  • Annamaya – physical body
  • Pranamaya – breath or life force
  • Manomaya – intellect
  • Vijnanamaya – personality
  • Anandamaya – feelings which is the seat of bliss

Each dimension consists of five additional layers.  The system is presented as a bird model.  A bird is a symbol of freedom and can only fly when all parts are functioning properly.


Seven dhatus – different kind of tissues that hold the body

  1. Rasa – Essence or Plasma
  2. Rakta Blood
  3. MamsaMuscle
  4. Meda – Fat
  5. Asthi Bone
  6. MajjaBone marrow and nerve
  7. Shukra Reproductive fluid

Rasa – Essense. We can compare it to a stew which is very light but cooks for a very long time.  It represents bodily liquid. The quality of liquids (whatever comes out: urine, etc.).  These fluids say a lot about what’s happening in the system. The essence is dependent on the balance of 5 elements: space, wind, fire, water and earth, with each element having it’s own qualities. Each of 5 tastes are the different combination of these elements. The taste of the food signals to the body how it will behave. Some argue, that decaf and regular coffee have the same affects because they have the same taste. The taste is the first step in the digestive process and the first step in creation of our tissues. Consequently, the first step at what we become. It’s not what you eat, but how it tastes that matters. All seven dhatus are inner-connected. In order to have a good reproduction, we need to have a good digestion.  The digestion is the foundation of the system. We are not what we eat, but you what not exert.

I also think it’s how, where and with whom you.  As my daily practice, I try to make my own food, not to talk during meals and to focus on food while I am eating it.  Even when I have to eat at my desk and the food was prepared the day or two before, I try to enjoy my meal and to fully focus on taste. It makes a huge difference.

Karana: eleven instruments or organs of actions, five organs of perception (touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing), and the mind and intellect.

Jnanindriyas– 5 sense of perception

  1. Sabda – Hearing (the foundation) Sound – Space Element
  2. Sparsa – Touch
  3. Rupa – Form – Vision
  4. Rasa – Taste
  5. Gandha – Smell

Karmendriyas – represent the physical organs of action and the corresponding subtle organs.

  1. Pani – the ability to comprehend, to grasp
  2. Pada – the locomotion organ, Legs are the locomotion organs
  3. Vak – the speech organ
  4. Upastha – reproduce
  5. Payu– eliminate

Every cell has abilities to digest, eliminate, reproduce and perceive. I think this level is, generally speaking, represents food, but not only food we eat, but also what we take it. The digestion slows down with negative emotions nearly as badly as eating a heavy meal. Interestingly, ahimsa – just like many other misinterpreted words – does not mean being vegetarian. This completes, the first and the “simplest” level. More to follow in the next 4 blogs.

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This entry was posted on Sunday, July 24th, 2011 at 4:58 pm and is filed under Yoga, Yoga Sutra. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “Chase Bossart Yoga & Meditation Weekend: Pancha Maya: Annamaya”

  1. […] reading about the first two dimensions: Annamaya and Pranamaya prior to this […]

  2. […] reading about the first two dimensions: Annamaya and Pranamaya prior to this […]

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