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“There is a tripartite soul, which means that there are three different souls in your body but only one stands out more than the other two” (The Republic, Plato).
The soul can be rational, appetitive and spirited. This means that the soul oﬀers humans the capacity to be wise, to have desires and to also feel anger; or more simply stated the soul is what allows us to feel – but not the superficial feeling of an injury but to feel deeply in life.
In our yoga teacher trainings – in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Torornto, Hamilton, Halifax or Montreal – we learn the soul is also immortal. In other words, when the body dies, the soul continues on but in a different physical form (in another body, of another being) which allows for it to remain for eternity.
I say this because the soul is an abstract ﬁgure or idea that human beings are not able to see with our eyes. We know that the physical make-up of the human body dies, but the ending of the soul is unknown and I therefore consider its existence to be inﬁnite.
Another reason why I think the soul is immortal is that there is no actual proof of its birth, or of its death. To conclude this idea, I again would like to draw attention to Plato’s opinion on the soul because in his “tripartite theory on the soul”, he says that the soul bares no birth nor does it bear a death.
In yoga, the soul is also known as your inner energy or your aura. Aura is composed of your chakras and these chakras are established through experience.
This means that your soul becomes bigger with time because as you bear witness to more experience throughout your life, the soul also gains experience which allows for it to ﬂourish.
The soul can also be compared to the spirit. The diﬀerence between the two is that the spirit is mortal. This can also be explained if you consider the idea of consciousness. I believe that when your body dies, your consciousness also dies, because your consciousness is your mind and the mind is a part of the brain.
This is related to the argument explained in the previous paragraph because it brings back the idea of immortal soul and allows for a comparison between the inﬁnite and ﬁnite aspects of the abstract human body.
Finally, I have learned that the soul is like an onion. It is made up of the ﬁve koshas or ﬁve layers. The most exterior layer which is called the annamaya kosha is the physical body, the second is the pranamaya kosha which is the vital body.
The mental body is the manomaya kosha, the wisdom body is the vijnanamaya kosher and the more interior layer is the anandaaya kosher which is the bliss body.
In my opinion, there is not one layer that is more important than another because as I stated in the previous paragraph, the soul grows through experience, and this exposure to experience would be impossible without the ﬁve koshas as a whole.