How to Utilize the Yoga Kosha Layers

Hi there, wellness entrepreneur. Welcome back!

Before we get started today talking about how to deepen your practitioner skills as a healer and wellness practitioner by utilizing the yoga kosha layers. , I want to remind you of the upcoming Blueprint for Low Back Health, Utilizing the Yoga Coaches and Chakra Models. It’s a continuing education training for certified wellness practitioners, yoga teachers, healthcare providers, coaches and more.

And it definitely relates to this week’s episode where we’re talking about using your yoga certification as a modality combined with the standalone. But many of the wellness entrepreneurs I work with have multiple certifications. So it’s using yoga in combination with your health coaching certification, in combination with a physical therapy license or other healthcare provider degree. There are so many benefits.

Get registered here:

How I Personally Utilize The Yoga Kosha Layers

I started thinking about this because, at the end of last year, I let go of all types of caffeine. It’s a big deal because coffee is definitely part of my morning ritual and I typically don’t drink caffeine past 10:00 AM or so. However, it is part of my morning routine. And I am using the Yoga Kosha layers to help myself through this big new habit pattern change, and also to help process through the discomfort of detoxing from caffeine.

How Yoga Kosha Layer Models Can Help Your Clients Enjoy Life During The Process

It also reminds me that, for example, if you are a physical therapist and you’re working with people to heal their low back health or a low back issue, disc issue, or you’re a health coach and you’re working with someone to optimize their gut health or their hormone levels, that there’s so many layers involved. And sometimes the process of getting to where the client wants to go, where your client or patient wants to go, it’s uncomfortable even though they have a big reason as to why they want to hit their goals – to live a higher quality life, to feel more happiness, enjoy, not be limited, feel more freedom, more energy, all that kind of stuff, which is all positive – sometimes it’s not so comfortable to get there.

Yoga Kosha Layer models or using a yoga as a modality with your clients, this process can help them to enjoy life during the process, so they’re not just hustling or rushing or racing to achieving their goal. Because in this way, often that delays their healing or missing out on life in the process. And really, goal setting, whatever it is, for health, for business or personal, it’s the person you become along the way. It’s the journey as they say. And yoga can really help the person embrace their journey, that self-image or new self-concept of themselves.

The Kosha Layer That Most People Focus On And Why You Should Introduce The Rest Of The Model To Your Clients

I think where people go wrong when they first get their YTT 200 and they’re excited, they love yoga, part of their own lifestyle, is they focus on the physical body, that outer layer kosha, and that is beneficial and needed.

For example, again, if you have someone with a low back issue, you do need to probably focus on some stretching or releasing fascia or strengthening certain muscles. As a health coach, you might need to optimize someone’s nutrition and dial in on what they’re eating or not eating and hydration for everything. This physical layer is important.

However, I think what’s missed are the four other Yoga Kosha or the eight limbs of yoga in a way. Bringing the rest of yoga into quiet sessions or physical therapy session, the focus tends to be the physical body. And again, it’s needed, but you’re missing out on so much more if you don’t introduce the client to the remaining models.

How You Can Help Your Client Fit The Changes They Want To In Their Day-to-Day

And that’s what we’ll talk about here in this blog. So, for example, if you have a client where you do need to give stretches or strengtheners or if you’re like me and you are helping a client to reduce their caffeine intake or reduce their sugar intake or change how they’re eating protein or any of these things, you want whatever habit change in terms of the physical body, you want this to become part of a new lifestyle. Something that fits seamlessly into their life, eventually.

At first they might have to go through some the trial and error of working that in, how does it fit into the day-to-day routine, but often the mistake I see is even a yoga teacher giving someone some yoga postures and saying, “Okay, go ahead and do these five exercises or make these big diet changes and go off and do that on their own.” And the problem is it’s uncomfortable and sometimes hard to navigate the day-to-day. How do you help them to fit it into their schedule? How do you help them to deal with the discomfort of feeling shifts in their body or fatigue or if they’re releasing sugar, for example, process through withdrawal symptoms or with that of caffeine. So the only way to help someone to navigate through this discomfort is by carving out the extra 20 minutes or a half hour to do something, which yes, will help their health, right?

You think by saying, “This will help you to feel better, this will improve your health, this will improve your energy,” is already enough but that’s not always the case. It’s too future-based thinking. And in the moment, when a client is stressed or working on their day-to-day or their children are really needing them or they’re really tired or they’ve had a horrible day, it’s natural to revert back to old patterns.

So, the trick to establish a new baseline or a new homeostasis is to help them, and this is the work that should be done in sessions, is help them to problem solve. Ask them, “Okay, so what works for you in terms of exercises? Let’s try it out. Let’s do your exercises first thing right when you get out of bed.” Or some of my own patients and clients do their exercises first thing in bed.

I know one of my new habits has been noticing my thoughts and my nervous system upon first thing in the morning. . And before I move, before I even get out of bed, I check in with myself and shift whatever thoughts are needed, notice if there’s any tension in my body, if my breath is nice, diaphragmatic, before I even get out of bed. And I had to overcome the natural urge, probably not natural or not, but the urge to check my phone and it’s uncomfortable to overcome that urge and just be with myself.

That is the key to changing a habit for your clients and patients. You might give some great physical exercises or some wonderful nutrition advice and tips that can really benefit their lives, but are you helping them to fit in their lives? Are you helping to troubleshoot? Your clients might say, “Oh, okay, well doing my exercises first thing in the morning doesn’t work because I need to get my kids to school.” So can you help them to shift it towards the end of the day?

For example, for me, I have scoliosis, there are certain attractions and yoga and strengthening exercises that I do immediately following a walk. So if I do a 45-minute to an hour walk or if I go on hike with my husband or my friend, I immediately come home and take 15 minutes to do my stretches. And it’s not always what I want to do. Sometimes I’m very hungry so I want to eat. Or if I was hiking with a friend, then I come home and my daughter might need something.

And so it’s learning how to be disciplined in not a forceful or criticizing way, but disciplined enough to say, “Okay, I’m going to take the extra 15 minutes to do this right now. Because I can feel it in my body, how my body will feel after doing these exercises versus not doing the exercises.” And I might be able to get away with missing one day of the exercises, but there’s a compound effect to doing exercises multiple days in a row versus missing multiple days in a row. And I’ve been there before where I’ve flared myself up because I’ve missed too many days. So I now know the negative consequences of having them become part of my lifestyle. And when I do them consistently, my body feels so much better and I even feel more relaxed. I just feel taller, more energetic, and definitely have less pain.

So I can use the fourth Yoga Kosha layer model by establishing new beliefs, by establishing new thoughts. And that helps me to establish the new patterns where I can let my hunger be there for 15 minutes, for example, or I can help my daughter to do something independently so then I can do my exercises for 15 minutes. Or a lot of the time, what ends up happening is she joins me. And how wonderful is that because she sees her mom taking care of herself and she’s gotten to know my rhythm over time, too. So we actually have a fun little pattern amongst ourselves where either she’ll get on the yoga wall first and I’ll do my mat stretches or strengtheners and then we swap. And so she learns how to share the yoga wall. We learn how to share the mat together. We learn how to breathe together. We have some great conversations and it actually becomes a fun moment.

And had I not done that at all, then I’m not creating that pattern for her. So think generational here, think big picture, beyond just you, the compound effect or your clients, the compound effect of having them do those stretches consistently put impact and what are they teaching their own children positively or not at all?

So whatever physical tactic, modality or strategy you’re giving your people, make sure that you help them to implement it into their daily life, and keep reminding them of the benefits of doing this. Because in the beginning, it might be really uncomfortable. They might not feel those benefits right away. And your job as a practitioner is to hold the space for them, to believe for them that they can fit in, that there is time, that it is possible for them to make these hard changes and they’ll get through it and they’ll get better.

The Benefits Of Pranayama Layer

This leads us to the next layer, the Pranayama layer. And this is the subtle energy body layer or the life force layer. So it’s the breath work, it’s the energy, it’s the nervous system, it’s chakras. They might not be used to or they might not think that they have time to add into their life because the shifts are subtle in the beginning where they don’t recognize the impact. And it’s also an area that can be missed or overlooked, especially if a client is feeling very busy and feeling very stressed and not having enough time.

As a practitioner, you can suggest for example, “Okay, I’m going to give you this breathwork technique,” or “I’m going to give you chakra alignment meditation or just starting your day similar to what I do, checking in with the breath, checking in with the bot, checking in with chakra is noticing where they are,” for example. And the client can say, “Oh, I don’t like that type of work. It’s not meaningful to me or I don’t have time for that.” And as a practitioner, it could be easy to slip into have the thought that they don’t want it and so you never even offer it. And I caution you with this because these next few layers are everything.

Why You Should Look Into Your Clients’ Nervous System

role, which I still do now with my business coaching people, and I was going to say healer, which I also do now, helping to release my entrepreneurs to release emotional or mental blocks or thoughts holding them back. But when people were first coming to me when I was doing my physical therapy clinic, it was often for physical pain, and they have been to so many other practitioners, maybe I’ve been the eighth, ninth, tenth practitioner who they’ve seen. So they’ve done a good portion of the exercises, they’ve heard or thought they’ve seen everything.

But often these next layers are what we are missing. Practitioners who they worked with before never addressed the nervous system. So they stayed continuously in that fight or flight response, which if you’re in pain is always feeling cortisol. It always feels feeling that inflammatory response and your threshold or trigger for pain is more easily stimulated.

So sometimes, a client would come in and their first couple sessions, they’d be very surprised because I said, “Oh actually the exercises you are doing are great.” And I usually would fine tune a few things either just on how they’re doing the exercises or often as scoliosis was missed, so I might individualize the exercises a bit more to account for their curvature. Another mistake I used to see was the core work being overdone in all these fancy ways when they’re missing the true foundational four layers.

So often, I wouldn’t change much on the exercise itself, but more of how they’re doing the exercise, which again goes back to that physical layer, really working into the details. But then I would add nervous system components and usually just one layer at a time so it wouldn’t feel too much. Often either a breathwork technique or a restorative pose to work with the nervous system and stuff. And education is so important here because in our busy society, it’s hard to tell someone to lie down and do nothing for five to 10 minutes if they don’t understand the true value of that. So I would go into educating them a lot on the nervous system, its impact on hormones, its impact in fascia, its impact in pain levels and all the things.

So think about it right now for your people, for the goals that your people want to achieve. How can working with the nervous system, how can introducing breathwork techniques benefit them? Write it down. Write down all the benefits and get practice in saying that you overcome the resistance and the objections of what your clients might say and you can help them to fit this work to their lifestyle. It doesn’t have to be an hour-long restorative practice either. It can be just one or two poses, five to 10 minutes, maybe 20 or doing 10 minutes one restorative pose and one breathwork techniques for a few minutes. Something simple and easy.

But educating to them why it’s important is crucial. Even if you’re a health coach who focuses on breath work or helping people to lose weight. I mean, for myself, I think that when I am shifting now through my caffeine change, when I helped to lose weight following pregnancy, restorative poses  to  release and shed that extra weight with ease, because it allowed my body to come into its natural rhythms or optimize with, instead of always being in that fight or flight response, driving everything. Or for my patients or myself as well with low back pain, how when I’m stressed, it’s easier for me to feel more pain and feel that my body’s out of whack and more sore and I feel low energy and it’s easier to slip into what I call low value  mentality.

So even though this is called the subtle energy body, when done consistently, it leads to a bigger impact in their lives.

You can read more about stress here: https://igniteurwellness.com/the-unknown-stress-relieving-hack/

The Emotional Kosha Layer

Even if you’re not a psychologist, especially if you’re a coach and a yoga practitioner, we want to work with emotional and mental wellbeing and know when to refer out to psychologists and bring them on board and work as a team, because this work really does complement each other, and we come down to this layer, it is the work that will change life.

But it’s hard to say that to someone who is maybe an 8 out of 10 pain or they’ve been so constipated for so long that they don’t have natural good gut health rhythm. Because here’s the thing, most of the time, your clients, your patients come to you thinking that happiness is on the other side of when they hit their goals, when this problem is resolved. And part of the work that I think is so profound and so powerful and empowering when you work with someone, is helping them to realize that potential for happiness, for joy, for peace, for freedom, is available to them right now. No matter what’s going on in their life and helping them to tap into that as they make these hard changes in their life. Helping them to let go of one thing and replace it with something powerful might be just as nourishing.

And again, this is done through all the layers. So for example, when I’m letting go of caffeine, I release my morning coffee, but I replaced it with some nourishing caffeine like fruit chi, teas, I just love the cinnamons and the cloves as they are so comforting and warming as well as some other superfood elixirs, which I can make and mix with water. So it’s not like I’m just releasing coffee and then only replacing water, but I’m replacing it with other foods that are very nourishing for my body. And so I have the thought, during this time, because  it becomes part of my morning routine, is that I’m really caring for myself even though maybe I feel a little groggy or raw or not quite as alert as when I usually am, I have the thought that I’m caring for myself now, that it will get better and I’ll establish a new baseline so I’m able to work through it. I feel peaceful in the morning now.

Even though I’m navigating through this change  in my body, it feels a little unknown. It feels a little unsettling because it’s even affecting my GI system. So I have to go through a lot of changes. Yet, if I focus on the emotional quality of what I might need in the moment, it deepens the connection with myself, my own intuition and my trust of honoring messages that my body is sending me. I am feeling a little more fatigue right now. My brain is a little slower to wake up. But that’s ok. I’ll give it all the time it needs, and I will support myself in this process. I will lean into the discomfort of the unknown, of what my new baseline might be like, or maybe even the future of bringing back caffeine or not. I can leave it open and trust my intuition to decide for the future.

But for now, for at least one month, I’m going to let it go and work through this and nourish myself in the process and feel. Sometimes, for example with back health, there’s so many suppressed emotions, we lean into a lot of tension, an underlying tightness in the body that just never seems to go away, which I call neural tension. And that’s where the Pranayama layer and this emotional body layer can work so seamlessly hand in hand when both are addressed. But if you’re never talking about it, you’re never getting into the details of what’s going on in your client’s life day-to-day, of how they’re showing up, what does happen when they get angry and frustrated? 

And sometimes as physical body practitioners or movement based practitioners, you think, “Oh, that’s outside my scope,” or imposter syndrome. Who am I to do that? Do you have that thought or think that it might be outside of your scope? It’s well work to get educated on it. It’s part of the reason why I have so many certifications. I have an NLP certification. I have a hypnotherapy certification. I’ve done so many yoga trainings, yoga therapy trainings beyond just the physical bodies. I’ve done breathwork training. I’ve done meditation training. And this year I’m doing another coaching certification training. I’ve done a base level stress reduction training and health coaching training. But now I’m getting into the subconscious mind specifically.

So keep learning yourself so you can work through these different crucial layers with your people. This is the work that will lead to the permanent change. It is the work that will help your people bring in those physical body stretches and strengtheners and diet changes more permanently because they’ll understand why they sabotage themselves, or their schedules, so they don’t fit it in.

The Vijnanamaya Layer

The Vijinanamaya layer is the belief or pattern or really the underlying patterns of maybe what goes on for our own beliefs or our thought pattern. Even the patterns of unconsciously how we show up day to day, moment to moment.

Beliefs can impact healing. If your patient or client doesn’t believe that they can heal or doesn’t believe that they can do their goals, they’ll be less likely to stick with it. They’ll be more likely to quit or to choose another pattern that maybe doesn’t serve them to their ultimate goal. Like going through the discomfort of giving up caffeine and having it feel so uncomfortable and so bad that they actually give themselves a little bit of caffeine. Maybe not as much as what they normally drink, but a little bit. So then that derails them. Because the next day they have to just go through the withdrawal again and they’re in the same spot.

So if you can have the belief in your education in getting to know their own self and their own capabilities of what’s possible for them, that can help to influence the new underlying nervous system pattern changes, and day-to-day, more of the physical body pattern changes or influencing the schedule pattern changes.

You see, there’s so many layers to impact someone’s life. And this is why personally I worked with people for a long time, six months or more because we want to work through all those patterns. We want to work through beliefs and thought processes, whether that be learned or in their own lifetime or passed down from generations ahead of them. Because if it’s never addressed, it’s easy to fall back into the old pattern of what got them into the problem in the first place.

This is all done with the belief that they can heal, If they believe it and feel it in their body. They believe that the program will work or making these sacrifices or hard changes will benefit them and be there for them every step of the way so they don’t feel like they’re left out in the cold to navigate these hard changes by themselves.

The Anandamaya Layer

The last layer is the Anandamaya layer. This layer helps them to find bliss or fulfillment, which I brought up before when talking about emotions and feelings, but helping them to feel positive emotions and a sense of contentment even working through these changes, even though they might not have hit their goal yet, but knowing that where they are is enough, where they are is exactly where they’re supposed to be, even if it isn’t exactly where they want to be.

So for example, when I was going through a lot of my cancer treatments and recovering, it was this process of feeling inside and knowing that it wasn’t ideal and it did suck. And at the same time, knowing that I was okay and I would support myself and nourish myself in any way possible. And learning how to find moments, maybe not whole days of feeling ecstatic joy, but moments of peace, of calm, of appreciation, like I remember so many times, feeling so much appreciation for my family and friends, for supporting me and helping me and connecting with them and bringing moments of happiness into my life. I remember feeling moments of appreciation and gratitude for my healthcare team that I would have. So appreciative of being diagnosed with Lymph syndrome, which led to my  screens which caught cancer  so early.

So there’s many ways that I, even though it was an unideal situation, that I could still feel crappy at times because it wasn’t ideal. And even now, a large precancerous polyp  was found just a few months ago. So I have to go through further screens more than normal, the beginning of this year and it’s not ideal. And at times I’m frustrated in that. But it’s okay for me to feel that way too, right? There isn’t always a silver lining, however, there could be. You don’t have to force silver lining upon yourself. But you can be open to possibility.. And for me that more is just feeling sense of content and peace and appreciation even during this.

And then when you work through it on the other side, knowing that you can feel more moments, more moments of happy and joy and peace and contentment, but the negative emotions and feelings, disappointment, frustration, sadness, pain, they might still always be there too. And that is life. Which is why the emotional body, especially in terms of physical feeling, whether be that health, hormones or pain is so important.


So for a moment, think about yourself as a practitioner. What kind of labels do you identify yourself with as a practitioner? Maybe yoga teacher, maybe a health coach, maybe it’s another type of coach, a lifestyle coach, a relationship coach, maybe you are a healthcare provider, physical therapist, a doctor. What is the most common reason why your clients choose to work with you? What is the result of the goals that they desire to achieve?

Now think of yourself working with these clients. How can you bring different layers into their will, into their day-to-day? Think about what objections might come up for them and how you can educate and help them and guide them through. What processes can you create to make these changes a little bit more seamless, a little bit easier to navigate? What processes can you create to support them during and maybe even some deliverables to guide them through, to help them through? What obstacles and roadblocks might come up for yourself? Maybe imposter syndrome, people pleasing, not having a clear thought out framework or just thinking that you can’t do. And how can you problem solve for those? Spend time doing these and observe your clients to the highest level, and unconsciously we’ll start to bring some of this work into your own life.

In fact, I hope you do live what you teach. Be the example. It’s so beneficial and transformational for your clients to see you transform and evolve. Plus when you do, then you’ll be able to problem solve for them and help them so much easier. All of this will create some happy, loyal customers for years. If you go back to the Client Retention blog, it will benefit not only your client, but you, your business as well.

I’ll see you in future trainings or next week. Bye for now!

Book your free call with me to see how I can personally help your wellness business grow:

Sign More Clients with this free training:


Alison McLean

"I help the Entrepreneur reduce stress and live a more fulfilled and balanced life."