Yoga psychology is the theoretical basis for yoga psychotherapy. Yoga psychotherapy plays a vital role in the successful treatment and management of physical, psychological and spiritual conditions. When combined with Western psychotherapeutic approaches it creates a powerful holistic approach to long-term healing.
One of the greatest things about yoga psychology and psychotherapy is that they not only provide a holistic path to self-healing, they also enable spiritual awakening. This is because 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, which is sometimes called a bio-psycho-social-spiritual approach is preferred over the purely biomedical model and the purely psychological model. 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 gives maximum emphasis to the role of cultivating self-awareness as the foundation on which improved health and wellbeing is built.
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 store a vast amount 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 to use suffering and adversity 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, one that 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 the two primary levels of yoga psychotherapy:
- Behavioral changes and the development of a stable ego
- Deep psychotherapy that supports the journey from limited, socially conditioned egoic consciousness to the awakened authentic Self.
You will find some of the most effective and transformative meditation techniques used in yoga psychotherapy here on Big Shakti. These include grounding and alignment, breath and mantra, and yogic mindfulness meditations.
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 Online Seminars 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.