For most of us in the West, Yoga has been introduced to us as a physical practice which is so beautiful in its own way. If we want to start any type of awareness practice we most likely start with the most obvious or tangible thing, the body.
When I was just a baby yogi starting my practice at age 22, I remember loving the physical sensation of my body feeling toned yet my mind feeling so relaxed after class. That relaxed mindset only lasted a few moments before I re-entered into feeling anxious, depressed, or confused.
After I completed my teacher training at YogaWorks in Santa Monica, CA, I began to understand a few of the connections between the mind-body and how it relates to yoga.
One of the main definitions in the yoga texts states:
“Yoga citta vrtti nirodha”
“Yoga Is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind-stuff.”
So, it doesn’t say anything about the physical body?
And, Yoga is about the mind?
Crazy, it doesn’t exactly look like that in all the studios I walk into.
But I get it, our bodies are overloaded and overstimulated. In order to even get a little glimpse of the mind, we need to relax the body.
Studies are now showing that yogic breathing helps fight major depression so even science is catching up to these ancient teachings to calm the mind.
Now, fast-forward a few more years of me practicing and teaching yoga, I take my first trip to India. You can read about my experience and see some pictures in my previous post.
On this trip, I encountered my first Vedic Psychotherapy session with the loveliest human being and now my therapist, Jessica. I initially walked in to see her to help me navigate and solve my parent’s conflict: “How can I help my mom leave my cheating dad?”
WELL...little did I know that this simple inquiry would uncover the truth about my personal traumas and a true discovery process on how to love myself.
Learning how to love oneself sounds like a new-age self-help book but you can’t really learn how to love yourself from just reading a book. From my experience, it is a painful process to discover the root cause of any mental discomfort. It was also painful to see how I was not loving myself and then slowly trying to reprogram myself.
Breaking any habit is hard. Breaking unconscious habits might be even harder and in my opinion almost impossible to break without the help of a psychotherapist.
Personally, it’s still a work in progress for me but it’s working! I look the same on the outside but so different inside.
Below I want to share some of the main differences between Vedic Psychotherapy and Western Psychotherapy, both of which can be an essential practice in life but they may resonate with different people or for different needs.
Top Three Difference between Vedic and Western Therapy
1.Vedic Psychology provides a complete picture of the mind, senses, ego, intellect, and heart, based on ancient Yogic Texts as well as pulling from resources of what we know as Western Psychotherapy. The mind is not studied as an independent unit nor are behaviors observed as isolated actions. Everything is interconnected (past experiences, upbringing, current environment etc.).
2. The Atman is acknowledged in Vedic Psychology. The Atman can be translated as Soul, Self, Purusha, or Real Identity. Some Western therapy may incorporate components of spirituality but it’s not common unless you seek that out
3. Western therapy emphasizes the importance of resolving issues while Vedic Psychology emphasizes getting to the root cause of the issues. Afterward learning how to clear it out, and reprogramming yourself.
- The way I like to think of it is like getting a splinter- if you get a deep splinter, it’s probably really painful. You can still put a band-aid on it and say it’s getting better but it’s actually still there and most likely still hurts a lot. To provide true healing, one must remove the splinter, clean it out, and then put a band-aid.
Stay tuned for my personal Top Three Healing Experiences with Vedic Psychology!
- Jessica is an expert on healthy communication and Self-love. If you are interested in exploring what that means, please contact Jessica for support at firstname.lastname@example.org