Yoga, Psychology and Psychiatry

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Limited aims are also important
Most Western psychotherapists are more concerned with the helping their clients to overcome limited problems, such as anxiety, depression, addiction or marital discord. It is also useful. To use analogy: It is difficult to meditate with a strong toothache.

Origins of psychotherapy
Psychotherapy may be traced to ancient Egypt. Sleep temples were perhaps an early instance of hypnosis over 4000 years ago. The treatment involved chanting, placing the patient into a trance-like state, and analysing their dreams. Meditation, fasting, baths and sacrifices were also used. Sleep temples also existed in the Middle East and Ancient Greece. In Greece, they were built in honour of the Greek God of Medicine Asclepius.
Psychotherapy was also the part of Indian Ajurvedic medicine (Nespor and Singh, 1986) and it is called Satvavajaya. The classical Satvavajaya is based on three principles: 1. Replacement of emotions (an undesirable emotion can be replaced by other incompatible emotion), 2. Assurances, 3. Psychological shock. I had an opportunity to observe an experienced professor of ayurveda to perform an exemplary psychotherapeutic sessions in English with my patients. He used empathy and unconditionally positive regard as many Western psychotherapists would do. The replacement of emotions took place by gently switching emotions e.g. from the mother-in-law (anger) to children (love). He also used reframing (a negative event was presented in a more positive way), and various stories and metaphors directly or indirectly related to patients’ problems and possible solutions.
Relevance to yoga: The group practice of yoga nidra resembles sleep temples sometimes. J
Practice: Different perception during normal and relaxed state.

Suggestive and hypnotic psychotherapy
One of the fathers of modern psychotherapy is Franz Anton Mesmer (1734 –1815). He believed that he had discovered so called „animal magnetism“.King Louis XVI appointed a commission to investigate animal magnetism. The commission concluded that the treatment effects were attributed to suggestion and imagination.
Relevance to yoga and practice: The use of Sankalpa

Relaxation in psychotherapy
Relaxation techniques flourished in the West in the 20 century. Three physicians should be mentioned here Dr. Schultz, who developed autogenic training, Dr. Jacobson, who developed progressive relaxation, and Swami Sivananda, who recommend yoga to the people living a secular life.
Relevance to yoga and practice: Applied and partial relaxation.

Freud developed his first topology of the psyche and proposed the existence of unconscious and preconscious layers of the mind. Various schools of psychoanalysis differ mainly in their emphasis on relevant unconscious material such as sexual desires, feelings of inferiority, birth trauma or collective unconsciousness.
Relevance to Yoga and Practice: Freud considered dreams the "royal road to the unconscious". I believe that the practice of Antar Mauna, stage 3, is even better.

Behavioral therapy and motivation training
Behavioral therapy is useful in the treatment of depression, anxiety disorders and phobias. A behavioral therapist believes that psychological matters can be studied scientifically by observing overt behaviour. Typical techniques behavioral therapy:
      Contingency management.
      Systematic desensitization
      Exposure and response prevention
      Social skills training
      Functional analysis of behaviour.
Relevance to Yoga and Practice:
      The principle of contingency management is rewarding the adaptive behaviour. In yoga it happens after one finishes his yoga class or relaxation and feel better. Thus behaviour was reinforced in this way.
      Some experts believe that during meditation spontaneous systematic desensitization takes place. The repressed and fearful thoughts are gradually realized, acknowledged and released.
      Social skills training may take place in ashrams (of course not only social skills training).
      Paramahansa Niranjanananda recommends at the end of the day to review one’s behaviour. If we find something inappropriate we may resolve to act better in the future. It is not exactly functional analysis, but it resembles it.
      Usual time for sadhana, certain place, blanket, etc. may be the stimuli inducing meditative mood in experienced practitioners.

Humanistic psychology and psychotherapy
It was described as the "third force" in psychology (along with behaviorism and psychoanalysis). Its major theorists were Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers. Humanistic psychotherapy emphasizes the uniqueness of human experience and the potential of growth and personal development of every person.
Relevance to yoga: The optimism of masters, such as Swami Sivananda, goes ever further. Swami Sivananda described criminals as “saints in the making”. But I would add that the transformation of a criminal into a saint may not always happen during one cycle of birth and death.
Practice According to Perls, most problems can be solved simply by asking following questions for long enough:
What are you doing? What do you feel? What do you want? Besides these two additional questions can be used: What do you avoid? What do you expect? It is worth trying.

Family and systemic therapy
This school of psychotherapy focuses on people in their relationships and even broader interactions. Systemic therapy approaches problems practically rather than analytically. It seeks to identify disadvantageous patterns of behaviour in groups of people such as a family, and address those patterns directly, irrespective of their cause.
Relevance to yoga and practice: A yoga teacher insisting that his/her trainee practice daily asanas should understand that this trainee may live with somebody having prejudices against yoga or in a flat with too many people and disturbances. Proper explanation given to relatives or addressing practical arrangements are more constructive.

Yoga Psychology
Yoga definitely acknowledges the relevance of suggestions, relaxation, unconscious drives behaviour and relationships, but it adds some other important things:
1. The Immortal Self (Atma). The great Indian poet Rabindranth Thakur met two holy men. He listened to their teaching and asked: “Why do you not teach this to everybody?”
“If somebody wants to drink, he comes to a river,” one of them answered.
“And do they come?” asked the poet.
“Eventually everybody will come” was the reply.
I would call this evolutionary optimism. The spiritual quest will direct everybody to the Highest even if it takes a long time, possibly many lifetimes.
2. The law of karma is related to everyday ethics. I read somewhere that if somebody kills a person because of money he must be born as an animal for seven lives. On the positive side Swami Satyananda said that he had helped people to make their heart clean.
3. Energy or pranic level. Yogis and few psychotherapists take into account also the energetic or pranic level. Working with this level influences both the body and the mind.

Koshas or bodies of humans according to yoga
(Kosha is a Sanskrit word meaning sheath)
Annamaya kosha is the physical body, that part dependent on anna, meaning grain or gross food, for nourishment. It consists of five elements (tattwas).
Pranamaya kosha is composed of prana, the vital life energy which organises the body parts and provides movement for mental and physical expression. The five major pranas - prana, apana, samana, udana and vyana - circulate within the body and perform different functions.
Manomaya kosha is the dimension of the lower mind, incorporating intellect, reason, concept and memory. This area of the mind is said to function through modifications or vrittis: correct cognition, incorrect cognition, fantasy and memory. Ego (ahamkara) also manifests here.
Vijnanamaya kosha is a more subtle area of higher knowledge and intuitive awareness. Vijnanamaya kosha is the sheath where subtle intelligence evolves, where the four aspects of mind originate in their pure form, born of mahat or supreme intelligence. Deep karmas and samskaras are stored at this level and form the reservoir of encoded experiences, or memories which filter through to manomaya kosha, and manifest as our conditioned personality.

Anandamaya kosha is a body of pure light in the realm of spiritual bliss, beyond the reach of language. It is the most subtle body, the sheath or body of bliss and happiness of attitude. If all the impurities and dross evaporate, the effulgence of the soul is experienced. Difficulties with past life karma at vijnanamaya kosha may inhibit people from knowing the bliss of ananda or soul.
Yoga psychology takes into account:
q  Koshas (see above).
q  Gunas (sattva, rajas, tamas).
q  Seven chakras and many marmas (minor energy centres).
q  Three main nadis (ida, pingala and sushumna) and numerous smaller nadis.
q  We are also influenced by five tattwas (earth, water, fire, air and ether). These tattwas create three doshas of Ayurveda (vata is air + ether, pitta is fire, and kapha is earth + water).
q  Various kinds of karma: According to Swami Sivananda karma can be divided into
     1. Sanchita karma: It is the sum of one's past karmas – all actions (good and bad) from one's past life follow through to the next life (The bundle of arrows in the quiver).
     2. Prarabdha karma influences human life in the present incarnation. It cannot be avoided or changed. It is only exhausted by being experienced. It is like a flying arrow.    
     3. Kriyamana Karma it is the karma which we are creating now.
·         Karma can be also divided into
     1. Nishkam Karma, or self-less or desireless action, or Duty for duty's sake.
     2. Sakam Karma (Attached Involvement)

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