Yoga & Psychology: Bridging Ancient & Modern Wisdom
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Yoga & Psychology: Bridging Ancient & Modern Wisdom


In the current world, we tend to see so many yoga studios and centres that are immensely used by the young population than the previous years. The intensity and frequency of individuals getting engaged in yogic practices are increasing gradually. Apart from the well-known fact that Yoga would bring us enhanced physical health, it also enriches our mental health and well-being.

Yoga and Psychology though are seemingly different disciplines converge in the process of dealing with the enhancement individual’s physical and mental health and well-being. This article will guide you through the various basic aspects of Yoga and the synergy of Yoga and Psychology.

Meaning of Yoga and Psychology

Yoga can be defined as the series of various groups of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines that originated in ancient India. It seems that it is one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophical traditions. While Psychology is the scientific study of human thoughts and behaviour. Yoga and Psychology together help in enhancing physical and mental health and well-being.

Mind-Body connection

Yoga focuses on mind-body connection through the practice of various postures, breathing exercises, meditation and certain other techniques. Psychology focuses on understanding how mental health states or conditions can affect both the physical and psychological aspects of an individual. Together, both remain as a holistic field to promote the relationship between the physical and psychological aspects of an individual.


Psychological aspects are the prerequisite of many aspects of it. In that instance, to gain more knowledge about yoga and its significance in Psychology, learning about citta is very important. Citta has its deep roots in the Indian Philosophy. It is often defined as brain stuff or consciousness. Citta primarily consisted of three aspects: Manas (Mind), Ahamkara(Ego) and Buddhi (Intellect).

Though these three are distinct concepts and functions, the combined orchestration of these three is essentially important like consciousness.

The Eightfold Yoga

Ashtanga Yoga or the eightfold Yoga is one of the most widely performed and significant forms of yoga. Ashtanga Yoga is a dynamic flow of yoga that connects the body and mind through certain movements and breaths.

These eightfold paths include:

  1. Yama: Yama includes a set of behavioural restraints such as nonviolence, avoidance of telling lies, principles of non-stealing, controlling one’s senses and not accepting any sort of lavish lifestyle or things.
  2. Niyama: Niyama includes a set of rules for the possession and practice of good conduct. This includes cleanliness, contentment, the power of tolerance, self-study and surrendering to the god.
  3. Asana: The advanced stage of yoga which involves the practice of various postures that help with concentration and deal with citta. This helps in the physical well-being and promotion of mental health.
  4. Pranayama: This involves control of breath through the practice of certain breathing exercises and techniques. This would enhance and promote respiration and concentration. The practice of Pranayama makes an individual healthy.
  5. Pratyahara: This stage of yoga involves withdrawing the individual’s attention from the attraction of worldly objects. This includes not craving for any objects or worldly possessions while remaining undisturbed.
  6. Dharana: An individual’s mind constantly shifts from one source to another. Dharana is primarily focused on one object while refraining attention from the other aspects.
  7. Dhyana: This is an extended version of Dharana while focusing or concentrating for a longer duration.
  8. Samadhi: The last stage of eight-fold Yoga which involves the gradual series of leading to the higher states of consciousness.
Applications of Yoga and Psychology

The constant practice of yoga and Psychology has a wide variety of applications.

  • The yogic practices of relaxation techniques and mindfulness help in the reduction of stress. It helps in the management of stress and anxiety.
  • Both together encourage the awareness of self. It deals with the heightened awareness of an individual’s emotions and thoughts.

Read More: What is Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy?

  • Both have integrated and remain as a tool for the intervention of recovery from trauma. Continuous practice would lead to the promotion of an individual’s resilience.
  • Proper practice of yogic breathing- controlled breath techniques would help deal with individuals with emotional regulations.
  • Researchers have found that the combined interplay of yoga and psychology as Yoga Psychology has helped individuals deal with many mental health problems like depression, anxiety and stress before seeking treatment from a medical or mental health professional.


The physical benefits of this Psychology include a flexible and strong body, toned and flexibility with posture, improved metabolism, enhanced sleep pattern, enhanced or improved functioning of the internal systems like respiratory system, digestive system, and cardiovascular system etc, reduced blood pressure, improved balance and relieve of pain.

The major psychological benefits of yoga are to calm the mind, attune people to the environment, enhance concentration and mental clarity, reduce stress and anxiety, encourage positive thoughts and self-acceptance and promote flexibility followed by the spiritual benefits which awaken the spirit, building healthy spiritual awareness, promotion of interdependence between mind, body, and spirit, enhancing the concept of oneness of all thing.

The fusion and interplay of Yoga and Psychology have a dynamic relationship holding the acknowledgement and awareness of mind and body while enhancing physical and mental health. Mental health and Yoga have still been an under-researched section wherein we may have to explore certain other functions and aspects of Yoga and Psychology. Both of these fields combined have a greater significance in all aspects of an individual’s growth and development.

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