STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN V
ANNAMAYA KOSHA (Physical Body)
The outermost of the koshas is the physical body (the Annamaya Kosha). ‘Anna’, in Sanskrit means food, and this is the body formed by the ingestion of food. It is sometimes referred to as the ‘gross body’, the least subtle of the koshas. The physical body is the temple of the soul. It houses organs that make it possible for consciousness to exist on this physical plane. It deserves care and respect. The reasons for being on the physical plane are the lessons that can only be learned in this material form. If the physical body is not properly maintained, it can be more difficult to advance spiritually.
Another paradox: the Annamaya Kosha is the most gross and dense of the koshas, but it is the most malleable. It is actually a manifestation of the unseen, more subtle koshas, and balanced sincere effort toward spiritual awareness echoes throughout the body and is reflected in the physical form.