Yoga Psychology and Psychotherapy – Theory and Practice

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Yoga psychology is the theoretical basis for yoga psychotherapy. Yoga psychotherapy plays a vital role in successfully treating and managing physical, psychological, and spiritual conditions. When combined with Western psychotherapeutic approaches, yoga psychology creates a powerful holistic approach to long-term healing.

One of the greatest things about yoga psychology and psychotherapy is that they provide a holistic path to self-healing and enable spiritual awakening. In these systems, illness can be viewed as a sacred path to higher awareness if one has the appropriate knowledge, techniques, and support.

Modern medicine is realizing that a physical approach alone, e.g., prescription drugs, or a psychological approach alone, e.g., Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), delivers limited and often short-term benefits. A holistic approach, sometimes called a bio-psycho-social-spiritual approach, is preferred over a purely biomedical or strictly psychological model alone. The biomedical model does not fully recognize the effects of the mind on the body. The purely psychological model does not fully grasp the impact of the body on the mind. Yoga psychology is a modern term that is in evolution. I define it as:

The science of the embodied relationship between consciousness and mind.

Yoga psychology sees body and mind as indivisible and emphasizes cultivating self-awareness as the foundation for improved health and wellbeing. Yoga psychology can also be called the science of the "subtle body," the part of us that lies between and links the physical body and the spiritual or causal body, the subtlest part of us.

The 4 Dimensions of Yoga Psychology

In order to gain a larger vision of the theoretical basis of yoga psychology, we need a 4-dimensional approach that draws from various Indian philosophical systems, including Yoga, Samkhya, Tantra, and Vedanta.

These Indian philosophical traditions are a storehouse for vast amounts of information about the inner workings of the body, mind, and spirit. They give us luminous insights into the organs of the mind, how the organs of the body and mind interact with each other, and the various energies that animate them. Yoga psychology describes how the idealized healthy body and mind function and how imbalances can occur, leading to pathology and suffering. 

In its highest form, yoga psychology seeks to actualize a conscious relationship with the vast cosmic forces that lie beyond socially conditioned awareness. Yoga psychotherapy shows us how to transform adversity and use suffering and hardship to actualize this conscious relationship with those vast cosmic forces. From this perspective, we gain information about our individual karma. We also begin to see our unique life purpose and destiny from a higher perspective, which links us to a greater and more universal destiny.

Yoga Psychotherapy and Western Psychology

Yoga psychotherapy can be defined as:

The application of yoga psychology into a clinical setting.

As it evolves, it will eventually incorporate Western concepts and methods into a more holistic approach that works for clients in a Western setting. There are two primary levels of yoga psychotherapy:

  1. Behavioral changes and the development of a stable ego
  2. Deep psychotherapy supports the journey from limited, socially conditioned egoic consciousness to the awakened authentic Self.

Here on Big Shakti, you will find some of the most effective and transformative meditation techniques used in yoga psychotherapy. These include grounding and alignment, breath and mantra, and yogic mindfulness meditations. We have also created the Therapeutic Meditations for Psychological Wellbeing, which contains the six core meditations we use in our yoga therapy and psychotherapy medical practice.

Yoga Therapy Books by Dr. Swami Shankardev Saraswati

The following books on Yoga Therapy are published by the Bihar School of Yoga, Munger, India:

  • Yogic Management of Asthma and Diabetes
  • The Effects of Yoga on Hypertension
  • The Practice of Yoga for the Digestive System

The Yoga Psychology and Yoga Psychotherapy Course will give you an overview of this vast subject so that your own journey to wholeness, where you stand presently, and what's possible for the future.

700 Yoga Psychology and Psychotherapy Course

There is also a Yoga Psychology Bundle that contains The Yoga Psychology Course, Facing the Shadow, and Healing the Mind.

700 Yoga Psychology Course & Meditation Bundle (1)

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