The Panchamaya Model: Yoga Practice for the Whole Person

My teacher Gary Kraftsow often says: “You can’t teach what you don’t have.” This means that to be effective yoga teachers, we need to practice our own yoga. If you have an interesting, rich and multidimensional personal practice, this will inevitably come across in your teaching. But if the well of your own yoga practice runs dry, this will leave your students thirsty as well.

The most effective approach to teaching yoga is “Study it, practice it, teach it.” And being human, you will only be able to keep your studies going for a long time if you are personally interested in what you are studying. 

So what interests you right now? Do you want to experiment with some specific postures? Are you dealing with hip tension? Are you challenged by some other personal struggles that you want to address? Your yoga practice has room for all of it. You can investigate it all in your practice, and then pass the lessons you learn to your students (and give them room to investigate, as well).
Woman giving tactile instruction to student in Cobra Pose.

Each one of us is a multidimensional human being who has all sorts of needs beyond strictly physical. So today I will show you how you can use the Panchamaya Model to envision different kinds of practices for your students. This is in no way an exhaustive list of what’s possible, but a comprehensive overview that is meant to spark your creativity and encourage your own exploration.

Panchamaya model, planning a yoga class, multidimensional practice

annamaya kosha, phyiscal body practices, breath centered practices balance, flexibility, strength

Pranayama, yoga and the breath, physiological functioning, sleep, stress relief, working with the breath

manomaya kosha, the intellectual mind, study, memory, reading, chanting

vijnanmaya kosha, spiritual, intuitive, loving, expressive, meditation, self-ritual

Anandamaya kosha, heart centered, ritual, prayer, family, society

Study with Olga Kabel and YogaUOnline – Yoga for Every Body: How to Adapt Yoga Poses for Different Situations, Conditions, and Purposes.  

Reprinted with permission from Sequence Wiz.

Olga KabelEducated as a school teacher, Olga Kabel has been teaching yoga for over 14 years. She completed multiple Yoga Teacher Training Programs but discovered the strongest connection to the Krishnamacharya/ T.K.V. Desikachar lineage. She had studied with Gary Kraftsow and American Viniyoga Institute (2004-2006) and received her Viniyoga Teacher diploma in July 2006, becoming an AVI-certified Yoga Therapist in April 2011. Olga is a founder and managing director of Sequence Wiz-a web-based yoga sequence builder that assists yoga teachers and yoga therapists in creating and organizing yoga practices. It also features simple, informational articles on how to sequence yoga practices for maximum effectiveness. Olga strongly believes in the healing power of this ancient discipline on every level: physical, psychological, and spiritual. She strives to make yoga practices accessible to students of any age, physical ability, and medical history specializing in helping her students relieve muscle aches and pains, manage stress and anxiety, and develop mental focus.

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