Intertwining Elements, Kosas, Chakras and Vayus, plus Baby Back Bends and Side Stretch

Much was covered in my four day workshop in Jakarta. In the first four classes we explored the elements and koshas, which included standing poses (anamayer kosa: earth), jumpings (pranamaya kosa: water), twists, and backbends on the ropes ( manomaya kosa: fire) and inversions and pranayama (vignaomaya kosa: air and anandamaya kosa: ether).

“As animals we walk the earth. As bearers of a divine essence, we are among the stars.”

“So many seek this greater truth in the heavens, but it lies much closer than the clouds. It is within and can be found, [via asana and pranayama] by anyone on the inward journey.”

“From your physical body, you can journey inward to discover your ‘subtle bodies’; your energy body pranamaya kosa: [element of water] where breath and emotions reside; your mental body manomaya kosa: [element of fire] where thoughts and obsessions can be mastered; your intellectual body vignanomaya kosa: [element of air] where intelligence and wisdom can be found and your divine body anandamaya kosa: [element of ether] where the universal soul can be glimpsed.” — B. K. S. Iyengar, Light on Life.



The physical body (annamayer kosa) corresponds to the element of earth. The standing poses, when practiced from and returning to tadasana increase the element of earth in the legs, which become strong and steady.

photo copy 2

“…a graphic representation of the primordial seed sound Om, symbolizing the whole cosmos. The letter Om is split up into five shapes to represent the entire universe, resolved into five cosmic principles.”  —  Yantra: The Symbol of Cosmic Unity by Madhu Khanna. © 1979 Thames and Hudson Ltd. London

From David V. Tansley, Subtle Body — Essence and Shadow, © 1977, Art and Imagination Series, Thames and Hudson, London)

Illustration showing the nadis and the major and minor chakras. From Subtle Body — Essence and Shadow, David V. Tansley. © 1977, Art and Imagination Series, Thames and Hudson, London

The nadis. The life force condensed in the subtle body travels along pathways called nadis (Nadi: a duct or conduit). The tree like nature of the subtle body contains around 72,000 of these nadis.


Yogin With Six Cakras. Painting. Kangra school. Late 18th century A.D. From Tantra Art: its Philosophy & Physics by Ajit Mookerjee. © 1966 by Ravi Kumar.

The chakras are pools of life energy, vibrating at different rates and located on the midline of the body. The three chakras located at the lower regions of our body represent our instinctual nature, the four highest ones reflect the mental and spiritual aspects of our being.

The final two classes were baby-backbends (not so baby) and side stretch poses. Here are a few of the poses from the side stretch sequence:





Thanks to all the lovely people at Jakartadoyoga!

Visit my website, for upcoming workshops.

© 2013 Bobby Clennell.


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8 Responses to “Intertwining Elements, Kosas, Chakras and Vayus, plus Baby Back Bends and Side Stretch”

  1. yogimarcia Says:

    Reblogged this on IYENGAR YOGA BLOGe comentado:
    Bobbie Clennel, apart being a wonderful senior teacher, has na imense heart and shares her knowledge habitually. Thank you, Bobbie!

  2. Saraswati Says:

    Good article and yoga posture drawings.

  3. Tricia Says:

    Hi Bobby,
    Great article – Thanks for posting, I’m just getting to grips with the Kosas, so this is very helpful.
    Would you mind if I put the link to this on my site for those who would like to read?
    Thanks Tricia

  4. Tricia Says:

    Thanks so much – travels safe & I’ll see you in October in Fernandina Beach.

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