The yoga system of Patanjali is not a philosophical system. It is empirical.
The first thing about the philosophy of Patanjali. He divides human personality into five seeds, five bodies. He says you don’t have one body; you have layers upon layers of bodies; and they are five. The first body he calls annamaya kosha — the food body, the earth body, which is made of earth and is constantly to be nourished by food. Food comes from earth. If you stop taking food, your annamaya kosha will wither away. So one has to be very alert about what one is eating because that makes you and it will affect you in millions of ways, because sooner or later your food is not just food. It becomes blood, your bones, your very marrow. It circulates in your being and goes on affecting you.
So the purity of food creates a pure annamaya kosha, the pure food body. And if the first body is pure, light, not heavy, then it is easy to enter into the second body; otherwise it will be difficult — you will be loaded. Have you watched when you have eaten too much and heavy foods. Immediately you start feeling a sort of sleep, a sort of lethargy. You would like to go to sleep; awareness immediately starts disappearing. When the first body is loaded it is difficult to create great awareness.
This is important because this is your first body and, more or less, people cling to their first body; they never move to the second. Millions of people are not even aware that they have a second body, a deeper body, hidden behind the first sheath. The first covering is very gross.
The second body Patanjali calls pranamaya kosha — energy body, electric body:
The second consists of electric fields. That’s what acupuncture is all about. This second body is more subtle than the first, and people who start moving from the first body to the second become fields of energy, tremendously attractive, magnetic, hypnotic. If you go near them, you will feel vitalized, charged. If you go near a man who lives only in his food body, you will be depleted — he will suck you. Many times you come across people and you fee] that they suck you. After they have left, you feel depleted, dissipated, as if somebody has exploited your energy. The first body is a sucker, and the first body is very gross. So if you live too much with the first — body-oriented people, you will feel always burdened, tense, bored, sleepy, with no energy, always at the point of the lowest rung of your energy; and you will not have any amount of energy which can be used for higher growth.
This type, the first type, the annamaya-kosha-oriented person lives for food. He eats and eats and eats, and that’s his whole life. He remains in a way childish. The first thing that the child docs in the world is to suck air, and then to suck milk. The first thing the child has to do in the world is to help the food body, and if a person remains food addicted, he remains childish. His growth suffers.
The second body, pranamaya kosha, gives you a new freedom, gives you more space. The second body is bigger than the first; it is not confined to your physical body. It is inside the physical body and it is outside the physical body. It surrounds you like a subtle climate, an aura of energy. Now in Soviet Russia they have discovered that photographs can be taken of the energy body. They call it bioplasma, but it exactly means prana. The energy, elan vital, or what Taoists call chi.
If you breathe rightly, your pranamaya kosha remains healthy and whole and alive. Such a person never feels tired, such a person is always available to do anything, such a person is always responsive, always ready to respond to the moment, ready to take the challenge. He is always ready. You will never find him unprepared for any moment. Not that he plans for the future, no. But he has so much energy that whatsoever happens he is ready to respond. He has overflowing energy. Tai-chi works on pranamaya kosha, pranayam works on pranamaya kosha.
Natural breathing has to be understood. Watch small children, they breathe naturally. That’s why small children are so full of energy.
A child breathes naturally, and of course breathes more prana in, more chi in, and accumulates it in his belly. The belly is the accumulating place, the reservoir. Watch a child; that is the right way to breathe. When a child breathes, his chest is completely unaffected. His belly goes up and down. He breathes as if from the belly. All children have a little belly; that belly is there because of their breathing and the reservoir of energy.
In the West also a few people have come across this phenomenon — Alexander Lowen or other bioenergetic people who have been working on bioenergy. That is prana. They have come to feel that people who are afraid, their chest is tense and they are breathing very shallow breaths. If their breathing can be made deeper, to go and touch the belly, the hara center, then their fear disappears. If their musculature can be relaxed, as it is done in Rolfing…. Ida Rolf has invented one of the most beautiful methods to change the inner structure of the body. Because if you have been breathing wrongly for many years, you have developed a musculature, and that musculature will be in the way and will not allow you to rightly breathe or deeply breathe. And even if you remember for a few seconds — you will breathe deeply — again when you are engaged in your work you will start breathing shallow chest breathings. The musculature has to be changed.Let your belly come up when you inhale, let your belly go down when you exhale. And let it be in such a rhythm it becomes almost a song in your energy, a dance — with rhythm, with harmony — and you will feel so relaxed, so alive, so vital that you cannot imagine that such vitality is possible.
Then there is the third body, manumaya kosha — the mental body. The third is bigger than the second, subtler than the second, higher than the second. Animals have the second body but not the third body.
When you start living on your own, spontaneous, when you start answering your life problems on your own, when you become responsible, you start growing in manumaya kosha. Then the mindbody grows. Ordinarily if you are a Hindu or a Mohammedan or a Christian you have a borrowed mind; it is not your mind. Become more and more alive, authentic, responsive.
Errors are good. Mistakes have to be committed. Never commit the same mistake again, but never be afraid of committing mistakes. People who become so much afraid of committing mistakes never grow. They go on sitting in their place, afraid to move. They are not alive. The mind grows when you face, encounter, situations on your own. You bring your own energy to solve them.
Then higher than manumaya kosha, bigger than manumaya kosha, is vigyanamaya kosha — it is the intuitive body. It is very, very spacious. Now there is no reason in it; it goes beyond reason; has become very, very subtle; it is an intuitive grasp. It is a seeing directly into the nature of things. It is not trying to think about it. The cypress tree in the courtyard: you just look at it. You don’t think about it; there is no “about” in intuition. You simply become available, receptive, and reality reveals to you its nature. You don’t project. You are not searching for any argument, for any conclusion, nothing whatsoever. You are not searching even. You are simply waiting, and reality reveals — it is a revelation. The intuitive body takes you to very far out horizons, but still there is one body more.
That is the fifth body, ANANDAMAYA KOSHA_ bliss body. That is really far out. It is made of pure bliss. Even intuition is transcended. These five seeds are just seeds, remember. Beyond these five is your reality. These are just seeds surrounding you.
The first is very gross; you are almost confined in a six-foot body. The second is bigger than it, the third still bigger, the fourth still bigger, the fifth is very big; but still these are seeds. All are limited. If all the seeds are dropped and you stand nude in your reality, then you are infinite. That’s what yoga says: you are God — aham brahmasmi. You are the very Brahman. Now you are ultimate reality itself; now all barriers are dropped.
These are five seeds. Corresponding to these five seeds, yoga has another doctrine about five bhutas, five great elements. Just as your body is made of food, earth; earth is the first element. It has nothing to do with this earth, remember. The element simply says wherever there is matter it is earth; the material is the earth, the gross is the earth. In you it is the body; outside you it is the body of all. The stars are made of earth. Everything that exists is made of earth. The first shell is of earth. Five bhutas means five great elements: earth, fire, water, air, ether. Earth corresponds to your first, annamaya. kosha, the food body. Fire corresponds to your second body, energy body, bioplasma, chi, pranamaya kosha; it has the quality of fire. Third is water; it corresponds to the third, manumaya body, the mental body. It has the quality of water. Watch the mind, how it goes on like a flux, always moving, moving, riverlike. The fourth is air, almost invisible. You cannot see it, but it is there; you can only feel it. That corresponds to the intuitive body, vigyanamaya kosha. And then there is akash, ether; you cannot even feel it — it has become even more subtle than air. You can simply believe it, trust it that it is there. It is pure space; that is bliss.