Here is an excerpt from the wonderful book titled ‘Practical Yoga Psychology’ by Dr. Rishi Vivekananda, who articulates the role of Yoga in the development of the personality, and the common ground that both yoga and depth psychology share. That is to say
“Depth psychology has shown that there is a form of psychic determinism which controls all our thoughts, actions and words. In fact, the revolution in modern psychological thought has infallibly led us to the conclusion that our conscious self is but a pygmy before the giant of our unconscious. The same truth was announced by the saints and seers of India as an intuitive truth, if not as a scientific maxim. The errors in man’s personality go on multiplying in the process of living. Rectification of these efforts can only be brought about if one addresses onself to the task of understanding one’s own mental structure. ” Dr. Vivekenanda goes on to say that the yogic system as articulated by Patanjali is a useful guide in this regard.
“The Patanjali system is in absolute concord with the principles of depth psychology. Freud said that the unconscious is mud; but it is also to be realized that out of that mud blossoms a lotus flower. . . by relentless honesty with oneself . . . one can see oneself as clearly, or more so, as one sees oneself in a mirror . . .”
Yogic practices support this principle of self honesty and evolve the personality through their steady practice, bringing clarity to one’s perceptions of self, and by extension to one’s perceptions of others. Depth psychology also supports the principle of self honesty in the development of the personality but through the creation of a continent therapeutic relationship. It is through this relationship that one can turn one’s attention to the task of understanding one’s own mental structure and by extension rectifying one’s errant ways.
Whichever pathway one chooses, either depth psychotherapy or Yoga, alone or together, will surely have a transformative effect on the life of the participant.