Pancha Koshas: An Immersive Journey into the Self with Leigh Khoo, Nov 23 - 27

River Valley
Monday - Friday, November 23 - 27, 2020
7.30am - 12pm

If you’ve been practising yoga consistently for some time, you may have found yourself asking the question: “Now what?” Beyond mastering the next asana, and finding more pockets of calm on the mat, where else can my practice take me?

Well, as the yogic tradition would suggest, the next step is the one that brings you inward — closer to your Self. The state of true freedom and bliss is elusive for as long as we continue to be triggered by external circumstances — do you remember how you reacted the last time you received a piece of bad news, or when a friend stood you up? Deep inquiry that leads to increased understanding of our inner states is the path forward. Thankfully, we don’t have to grope about in the dark as to how to go about that. Because yoga is a practice steeped in tradition, lineages of yogis before us have devised a systematic framework to help us journey inwards: the pancha koshas.

Ancient scriptures describe our mind-body complex to be made up of five sheaths of consciousness (pancha koshas) that move from our physical periphery to the core of our embodied Self. In this system of energetic anatomy, these sheaths of awareness (like the petals of a lotus) must be peeled back in order to help us unveil the essence of our being:

“Human beings consist of a material body built from the food they eat. Those who care for this body are nourished by the universe itself.

Inside this is another body made of life energy. It fills the physical body and takes its shape. Those who treat this vital force as divine experience excellent health and longevity because this energy is the source of physical life.

Within the vital force is yet another body, this one made of thought energy. It fills the two denser bodies and has the same shape. Those who understand and control the mental body are no longer afflicted by fear.

Deeper still lies another body comprised of intellect. It permeates the three denser bodies and assumes the same form. Those who establish their awareness here free themselves from unhealthy thoughts and actions, and develop the self-control necessary to achieve their goals.

Hidden inside it is yet a subtler body, composed of pure joy. It pervades the other bodies and shares the same shape. It is experienced as happiness, delight, and bliss.” ~ Taittirīya Upaniṣad

Each sheath contains plenty of insight for self reflection, and understanding all these layers to our being is a powerful way towards self mastery. In this five-morning immersion, we will harness a varied framework of tools and practices to journey systematically through these sheaths, with the intention of designing a deeper, well-rounded and, most importantly, meaningful approach to our yoga practice.

This immersion is ideal for those who are interested in understanding the practice of yoga beyond asana, and are curious to learn more about the philosophy and intricacies of the practice. It counts as 20 hours of continuing education credits for those who need to earn them for Yoga Alliance.


7:30am - 9am Morning practice
9am - 9:30am Break
9:30am - 12pm Immersive study

Day 1: Physical sheath (Annamaya kosha)
Our focus today will be on embodiment practices. We will dive into a deeper understanding of the Ayurvedic system of doshas and the correlation between Ayurveda and Yoga. We will also learn a short series of tri-doshic yoga asanas and explore assists to facilitate ourselves and others to find grounding, integration and space within the body. For yoga teachers — this is a rediscovery of why we choose to put our hands on students, and how. For practitioners — learning to give and receive appropriate, intentional touch goes a long way in facilitating our understanding of internal alignment in asana practice, bringing forth a holistic sense of integration and stability.

Day 2: Energy sheath (Pranamaya kosha)
Our focus today is on experiencing our vital force (prana), and that takes us into deeper study of our breath. We will study the five movements/functions of our life force, the chakra system as well as how to recognise and work with our inner seasons, so as to mange our cyclical energy in a sustainable manner.

Day 3: Mental sheath (Manomaya kosha)
Our focus today is on experiencing our mind, and that takes us into deeper study of the afflictions (kleshas) that obscure the mind, as outlined in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. We will also explore body mapping, and discuss trauma-informed approaches (facilitated by guest faculty Lee Yoke Wen) to our yoga practice that can support the well-being of our nervous system.

Day 4: Wisdom sheath (Vijnanamaya kosha)
Our focus today is on connecting to our inner witness in meditation. We will study the eight limbs of yoga, as outlined in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, with special attention on the yamas and niyamas (moral observances) that inform our higher wisdom. We will also discuss practical applications of the yamas and niyamas in our life, both on and off the mat.

Day 5: Bliss sheath (Anandamaya kosha)
Our focus today is on connecting to our inner heart — that space of infinite wisdom and unconditional love. We will explore joy-filled meditations that bring us in union with our inner bliss, study the two-pronged approach of steady effort (abhyasa) and detachment of the results (vairagya), and discuss the balanced, joyful path of surrender (ishvara pranidhana).


Early bird (by Oct 31): $650
Regular: $725

Previous participants of Leigh’s 200-hour Living Yoga Vinyasa teacher training are entitled to 20% off. Please email us for payment. 


Leigh found yoga 13 years ago in a tiny studio in Chinatown. As much as she enjoyed the dance-like flow of postures, it was the meditation practice after the asana sessions that really drew her in. Her first teacher Sunil Dahiya used to ask: “Where are you in your body? Meditate on that.” That set the tone for Leigh’s yoga journey. While she naturally inclines towards dynamic vinyasa sequences, she also enjoys quiet, meditative practices, which she believes are key to connecting us to our deeper, higher wisdom.

Through her years of teaching, Leigh has learned to understand and, more importantly, respect anatomical differences. She loves inviting practitioners to step into their power and practise according to their inner alignment — asanas that look right on the outside may not necessarily feel so within. She continues to be deeply influenced by her teachers Emily Kuser and Jo Phee, as well as by the philosophies of Tantra, which remind her to see everyday pleasures as doorways into the divine.

Her teaching is embodied, intuitive and poetic, and a reflection of her life on and off the mat. After all, she sees life to be the greatest teacher, with every moment serving as an opportunity to connect to our highest self and to live with compassion, intention and integrity.


Yoke Wen has over 10 years of experience supporting vulnerable children and families. She strongly believes in promoting children’s rights to live their best lives and reach their potential. 

She found yoga in 2014 after life-altering experiences and over time discovered the powerful benefits of healing, empowerment and grounding in yoga and meditation. She completed her RCYT with Divine Light Yoga in January 2018 and is passionate to use yoga to help children and teens feel safe, calm and strong in their bodies, develop skills to cope with feelings of stress and anxiety and build mind-body awareness, which is key as they form their sense of self and their understanding of the world around them. 

Integrating wisdom from Yoga philosophy and western research on trauma, Yoke Wen is keen to continue working with children, teens and adults who experienced trauma. She hopes to facilitate a safe space for her students to explore healing, safety and connection in mind, body and breath.

Connecting with children has always brought tremendous joy to Yoke Wen and she enjoys sharing yoga with them using their language - fun and play!