This paper was presented at the
National Seminar on
Indian Psychology: Theories and Models

SVYASA, Bangalore,
December 26 - 28, 2007


Components of psychotherapy in Yoga-Sutra

K.M. Tripathi — Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi


Obviously the Yoga-sutra of Patanjali does not aim at discussing the mental health management process; nevertheless contingently the components of psychotherapeutic process are either in direct or indirect way significantly covered in the Yoga sutra. The neurotic, psychosomatic and physio-psychic disorder-processing along with symptoms and syndrome, are discussed concisely in the very first chapter of (Yoga-sutra I/30-31), which is also followed by the techniques for the Management of Psychic stuff as chitta-prasadana (Yoga-Sutra/I/32-39). The concept of brahma-vihara (Yoga-Sutra/I/33) nicely gives the clues of psychotherapeutic process resembling with the earlier form of psychoanalytical management propounded by Freud. The fundamental causes of mental problems are described as panch-kleshas (Yoga-Sutra/II/3) in the beginning of the second chapter i.e. Sadhana Pada.

The second chapter also covers the methodology of psychic management. The Astanga Yoga (eightlimbic approach of yoga) of Patanjali divides its eight limbs of yoga into two categories or steps of yoga i.e. bhairanga yoga (exterior yoga) and antaranga yoga (interior yoga). Bahiranga yoga (exterior yoga) takes in the substantial sequential techniques of psychic control. Through yama and niyama the interaction between the individual and the environment as well as the different components of self (yogic approach) is modified. By the regular and sincere practice of asana and pranayama, the physiological and psychosomatic counterparts are profoundly managed, which has been proved by a number of empirical researches. One can attain a complete isolation from interior and exterior stimuli through the practice of pratyahara by controlling and marshaling the activities of senses at both internal and external levels which manages the stresses of personal life and brings composure. Thus the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali has pertinent clues and guidance for the psychotherapeutic process. Through meditation many a conflicts are resolved.

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