Yoga for Mental Health
March 29, 2023
by deana

By Tina Pritchard, RYT 500, C-IAYT 

“The state of ill health is moment to moment happening. Healing is moment to moment balance, bringing awareness to our thoughts, feelings and how we respond.” -Dr. Vasant Lad

One of Yoga Therapy’s greatest strengths is its ability to create familiarity with the body and its sensations. This lays the groundwork for insights into and management of feelings, thoughts and actions.

The Kosha model consists of five layers or sheaths: body, breath, emotions, mental, and bliss. Although all layers are interconnected, working with the body layer is often the starting point in yoga therapy. This allows the client to develop interoception, the ability to perceive, comprehend, and regulate the body’s internal signals and proprioception, or kinesthesia, which is awareness of the position and movements of the body. Working with the second sheath allows the client to gain an understanding of how they breathe, what their energy states are, how these are interconnected with their thoughts and emotions and how making changes to one can impact another. Understanding and proficiency in working with these layers enables the client to access the more subtle layers and address difficult thoughts and emotions. 

As a Yoga Therapist specializing in mental health, I have many tools to choose from when working with the koshas. Here are just a few examples from within each kosha:

Body or Anamayakosha

Alignment, asana or poses, other forms of gentile movement and somatic exercises

Energetic or Pranamayakosha

Pranayama or breath exercises, mudra or hand gestures, chakra and vayus (pranic channels)

Emotions or Manamayakosha

Guided relaxations, sense withdrawal, concentration techniques, meditations, affirmations

Mind or Vignamayakosha

Meditation, yoga philosophy and self study

Bliss or Anandamayakosha 

Yoga Nidra, techniques to develop awareness of the inner self that exists beyond physical, energetic, emotional and mental blocks.

These yoga therapy tools help develop self-knowledge through a process of awareness and an understanding of the self at all levels. I choose practices and modify them according to the needs of each individual for the highest level of health that can be achieved based on the client’s condition or situation. The intention is not to cure or fix but to have a sense of well-being in body, mind and spirit.

If you are interested in yoga therapy sessions in person in Lansdowne, PA or virtually from anywhere, please feel free to reach out here: