What is Annamay Kosha ?
The outermost of the koshas is called the sheath of food, or Annamaya kosha. This is the gross, physical body. This is the sheath of the physical self, named from the fact that it is nourished by food. Annamay Kosh is matter in the form of physical body sustained by intake of food. It includes five organs of perception (sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch), and the five organs of action (prehension, locomotion, articulation, excretion, procreation). This sheath has the most dense and slow vibrational frequency. This body cannot exist without contact with the other koshas.
Personality of the individual i.e., physique as well as traits depend on the condition of annamaya kosha, the formation of which continues life after life. The physique in the next birth is decided by the state of annamaya kosha of earlier births. Ancient Hindu wisdom proves that man, his personality and destiny (fate) are determined in his subtle bodies, which he brings from previous births.
Annamay Kosh is materialistic realization of the Supreme. Living through this layer man identifies himself with a mass of skin, flesh, fat, bones, and filth. This is considered as cage of flesh and blood in terms of spiritual world.
Purification, Refinement and development of annamaya kosha is possible through the methods of: Upavas (fasting), Physical Asanas, Tatvashudhi (Inner Purification) and Tapashcharya (Practice of austerity). Freeing our soul from the attachment and identification with the food sheath (Annamaya kosh) or physical body is the first objective of spirituality.