The Energetic Body (Pranayama Kosha)


The body is a temple whose door (dwara) is the nostril. The soul (antaryami) resides in the innermost chamber. Just as you have to travel from a temple's outer chambers through the inner chambers to reach the sanctum sanctorum, in the same way the breath has to penetrate the various sheaths (kosha) of the body to reach the antaryami. The outermost chamber of our body is the anatomical (annamaya kosha), represented by the element of earth (prithvi). Next is the physiological (pranamaya kosha), represented by the element of water (apa). Then comes the mental body (manomaya kosha), represented by the element of fire (tej). This is followed by the intellectual body (vijnanamaya kosha), represented by the element of air (vayu). Finally, you reach the conscious body (chittamaya kosha), represented by the element of ether (byom). B.K.S. Iyengar


The 3 Granthis

The granthis, or knots, are links with the energy. They maintain the person attached to the phenomena.

  1. The root knot or Brahma granthi
    It insures the belief that identity is that of the body, the energy and the organs. It is the animal knot, or atavist link to the territorial defense, to the search for food and sex, and even more basic to the fear of dying. At higher levels, it corresponds to the power of penetration in the energy, to the power of the creating function, to the corresponding joy and more basically to the undetermined desire of the energy of consciousness.
    When this knot is free, the animal link evolves to a powerful freeing energy pouring into the inner being. It engages the energetic process of the person from perpetuation of the species to conquest of the totality of his or her being, from manifested earth-horizontality to verticality of the uncreated consciousness.
    This same energy, from what it binds, frees the person as it provides the power necessary to the edification of his or her own nature.
  2. The heart knot or Vishnu granthi
    It links the belief that personality is that of the phenomenal ego, of the feelings and predilections. It is the knot of personality where we find affective attachments to parents, to conjoins, to children, to desires, and to their respective objects, and more basically to the fear of being alone.
    At the higher level, it corresponds to the power of the union with the energy, of the preserving function, to the corresponding joy and more basically to the full opening of the energy of consciousness.
    When this knot is undone, the link to personality transforms to an energy of intuitive knowledge. The person abandons his or her own viewpoints on phenomenal ego to the only higher presence. This shift of focus goes to acceptance of the higher will as being the inducer of servitude and deliverance.
  3. The frontal knot or Rudra granthi
    It insures the belief that the mind is that of morals, virtues and merits, of good and bad. It is the link of intelligence, or of reasoned link to rules, dogmas, interdictions, and other judgments on behaviors to respect and more basically on the fear of madness. At the higher level, it corresponds to the power of moving the energy into consciousness, of destructive and annihilating function, and on the corresponding joy, and more basically of the full rest in the undifferentiated consciousness.
    When this knot is undone, the attachment to all forms of thoughts transforms in an energy of dissolution (laya) in the ethereal and immutable consciousness. The individual ceases to think and goes into deeper and deeper states of concentration and then of meditation. There is an increased awareness of the persons’ true nature. He or she becomes being, consciousness and beatitude (Sat-Cit-Ananda), non particularized or pure energy of consciousness (Cit-Shakti). What led to opinions becomes the observation of opinions. The cessation of mental fluctuations leads to the joy of universal and extemporal condition of higher beings.

As long as the three knots are present, the person feels as being put into question, as being limited, or as being in sufferance.

The 16 Adharas

The subtle body, or body of pranic energy consists of nadis (channels) and and adharas (energy centers). These adharas include the chakras and other centers. They are physical locations where different plans coincide. It is said that it is only in these locations that the subtle body can be accessed. Working on these centers permits therefore the direct action on the subtle and energetic body.


  1. Padangusthadhara (at the level of the big toes)
  2. Muladhara (at the root of Sushumna)
  3. Gudadhara (at the level of the anus: the location of apana)
  4. Medhradhara or Svadisthana (at the level of the genital apparatus: location of Virya and Bindu)
  5. Uddyanadhara (in the middle of the lower abdomen, mid-distance between the pubic bone and the umbilicus)
  6. Nabhyadhara (at the level of the umbilicus: first location of the audition of Pranava)
  7. Hridayadhara (at the level of the heart: location of the union of prana and apana)
  8. Kanthadhara (at the level of the throat)
  9. Ghantikadhara (at the level of the palace)
  10. Taluadhara (in the lower part of the throat, directly linked with Ajna)
  11. Jivadhara (at the root of the tongue)
  12. Bhrumadhyadhara (at the level of the glabella)
  13. Nasadhara (at the tip of the nose)
  14. Kapatadhara (at the root of the nose)
  15. Lalatadhara (in the center of the head)
  16. Brahmarandhradhara (at the level of the fontanel)