Updated: May 19, 2020
In order to experience life completely, we depend on 5 layers of awareness or 5 different kinds of bodies.
The first layer is the physical body also known as anna-maya-kasha (that which is made from the food). The physical body consists of everything tangible including the the internal and external organs all the way down to individual cells, further divided into atoms and sub-atomic particles.
The second body is the energy body also known as the prana-maya-kosha (that which is made from energy). The energy body encapsulates the physical body and exists inside as well as outside of it. Its presence is more subtle than the physical body and it spreads throughout the body via a system of energy meridians called nadis and energy centers called the chakras. The chakras are responsible for receiving the comic energy which is spread throughout the body via the nadis which run in parallel to the human nervous system.
The energy body is the most important body when it comes to the yogic systems, it is through this body that we can control the physical as well as the astral and the causal bodies. In order to get an essence of the energy body, we can relate it to the emotions or feelings an individual is experiencing. A happy or an excited person, has a lot of positive energy and feels physically more active as well. On the other hand, same person if he feels sadness, or hopelessness, has a lot of negative energy and feels physically lethargic. Thus even with the same level of physical conditions, the energy body greatly influences how a person functions both internally and externally.
The third body which encapsulates the energy body is the mind body or the astral body also known as mano-maya-kosha(that which is made of the mind). As the name suggests the mind body consists of the accumulated thoughts of an individual. Our thoughts are small pockets of energy, which are spread throughout our mind body. These thoughts have a direct impact on the energy body and are continuously being fed by the external stimuli as well as our causal body.
Any thought that we think weather consciously or subconsciously is a part of the mind body. If an individual is able to purify the mind to think only positive thoughts, it will have a great impact on our etheric and physical bodies.
The fourth body is the knowledge or the causal body also known as Gyan-maya-kosha (that which is made from knowledge). This encapsulates the mind body within itself. If we think of the human senses as recording device, then all that is ever experienced or thought by an individual is stored within the knowledge body. This contains information not just from our current lifetime but from all lifetimes that we have ever experienced as well. The knowledge body influences our thought pattern and how we react to situations in our life. It directly influences the mind body and in that sense controls our thought process.
The fifth body which encapsulates the knowledge body is the bliss body or anand-maya-kosha (that which is made of bliss). The bliss body is made of pure consciousness, light and bliss. It receives the energy from the universe in pure form and passes it down to the lower bodies.