Querying new yoga students and assess on basis of the Pancha (five) kosha (layer) theory
As yoga teachers, we must show care and concern to our students and dutifully assess them according to their comfortability and health condition. Before joining students in the class we must follow the ethics of personally getting to know them a little bit by questioning and observing their overall behavior, body condition, and the quality of lifestyle they follow. Here are some ways to gather the right information from our students based on the Pancha kosha theory.
- Annamaya kosha (food sheath, physical layer)
Just by the observation of one’s physical features and appearance we can identify their bodily strength and flexibility. We can also directly ask them questions regarding their medical history. Based on Annamaya kosha (food sheath, physical layer), we gather information related to the students’ bodily condition only. Also, it’s very important to check up on them from time to time after they begin practicing in class, and ask them” how are u feeling today?”, “do you have any pain at any part of the body?”, etc. We must always tell the students to listen to their body and not strain too much and based on their answers we can design a class that can help them recover from ailments.
- Pranamaya kosha(vital energy body)
Breathing is very important during the practice of yoga asanas, it helps us regulate our vital energy channel or the prana. To assess students based on pranamaya kosha we can simply observe their way of natural breathing.
Abdominal or Full yogic breathing shows that a person is in a relaxed and aware full state, while chest and clavicular breathing tells us he/ she is feeling tense or impatient. With this observation we can assess those students who have difficulty in relaxed breathing to practice pranayama, helping them cleanse their energy channels(nadis) and regulate energy through aware full breath.
- Manomaya kosha (mind)
With awareness, everyone can sense their mental calmness and stability. However, some people do not know how to bring stability to their chain of thoughts. While asking students general and friendly questions about their life we can figure out by calmly listening to their reply, as to how much mental stability they have. Students who speak too fast and keep complaining about their problems need help to find mental peace. They need the practice of meditation with asanas and pranayama to support their physique and energy stability. This way we can assess the basis of Manomaya kosha.
- Vijnanamaya kosha (discern intellectual)
There are pious personalities who have transcended beyond the body and mind, they are in the pursuit of ultimate knowledge. Those who identify themselves as the vijnanamaya kosha are inclined more towards spirituality. The best practice for them is jnana yoga, which involves reading scriptures like the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads with some chanting and meditation.
- Anandamaya kosha(bliss level)
Finally coming to those who have realized the anandamaya kosha enjoy all the different yogic practices. They tend to see themselves as one with nature and seem to be aware of the present moment. We can suggest such students continue practicing meditation or other practices in a calming outdoor environment go for pilgrimage and other recreational activities.
Overall depending on our self-assessment, we can adapt any yogic practice, but the key for liberation from life sufferings depends on the consistency of our practice. As yoga teachers, we are still practitioners, so apart from motivating our students for practice we must maintain our lifelong learning and application of yogic knowledge along with a quality spiritual lifestyle.
Courtesy To: Ananya Kasiraj, RYT – 200 Hrs (student assignment)