Personality is deﬁned as a deeply ingrained pattern of behavior that includes modes of perception, relating to and thinking about oneself and the surrounding environment. Personality traits are normal, prominent aspects of personality.
In the ancient text of Taittareeya Upanishad, personality is said to be composed of five aspects. These are called the panca koshas or the yogic concept of personality. Yoga helps in developing positive traits in each of these five aspects leading to self-actualization and helps an individual to achieve his or her maximum potential.
The five sheaths of the human body can be nurtured and developed by various specific yoga practices.
- Annamaya kosha or Physical body
- “Yogah karmasu kaushalam”
Yoga is dexterity in action
- Practice of yoga helps to maintain homeostatic balance.
- Tonifies the muscles and improves strength and flexibility.
- Improves attributes of physical fitness like speed, dexterity, coordination, balance, stamina and steadiness.
- Increases gastric fire and improves digestion.
- Enables optimum physiological functioning of metabolic, cardio-pulmonary, gastro-intestinal, reproductive and neurological systems.
- Yogic practices to develop this aspect of personality are: asanas, dhauti, nauli, basti, neti, surya namaskara, loosening practices.
2. Pranamaya kosha or Energy body
- “samatvam yoga ucyate”
Equanimity of the mind is yoga
- Yoga helps in purifying the nadis, dissolves energy blocks and enables free flow of prana or life force.
- It increases attention span and memory.
- Improves all higher mental functions including cognition.
- Improves mental stability, stress resistance and creativity.
- Helps develop willpower.
- Yogic practices to develop this aspect of personality are: pranayama, trataka, kapalabhati, MSRT
3. Manomaya kosha or Emotion body
- “Manah prashamana upayah yoga iti abhidhiyate”
Yoga is a skillful technique of calming the mind
- Yoga cultures and develops the emotional faculties.
- Brings about a state of emotional stability and controls mood lability.
- Brings about a state of euthymia.
- Calms the mind.
- Develops presence of mind.
- Reactions to emotions are reduced as yoga teaches the concept of samatvam or equanimity.
- Yogic practices to develop this aspect of personality are: meditation, dharana
4. Vijnanamaya kosha or Intellect body
- “Tato dvandva anabhighatah”
The dualities of the mind are destroyed
- Improves ability to differentiate right from wrong.
- Develops a sense of morality.
- Improves decision-making capacity.
- Develops logical, analytical and practical thinking ability.
- Yogic practices to develop this aspect of personality are: yama, niyama, asana, vairagya
5. Anandamaya kosha or bliss body
- “tada drashtuh svarupe avasthanam”
Then (after mastery in yoga), the seer dwells in his own true splendour
- Yoga helps in the spiritual growth of the individual.
- Develops introspection and altruism.
- Encourages an inward journey in order to achieve the ultimate state of Samadhi, which is said to lead to kaivalya or liberation.
- Yogic practices to develop this aspect of personality are: dharana, dhyana, Samadhi, samyama
Thus, Yoga helps in total integrated personality development. In order to achieve the perfect harmonious state of mind and body, yoga must not only be used as a therapy but it must be adopted as a way of life.