The Psychology of Yoga

psychologyThe discipline of yoga and its benefits, are topics of increasing interest to psychoanalysts. Cristina Rossi a clinical psychologist in Genoa, Italy, helps navigate this very interesting field.

The psychotherapist and the psychologist, with the due difference, related to their specific area, are also opening up to approaches that focus on the whole person. Many begin to integrate in their therapeutic relationship with the patient, therapies complementary to the main one.

Among the complementary therapies that best marry with psychotherapy and cognitive sciences, there is yoga. The psychotherapist can accommodate in his care plan the benefits of practicing yoga, such as work on breathing, and planned movements. These can in fact help in the improvement of different symptoms of a psychological and also physiological type.

Many cognitive studies are considering beneficial integration with yoga activities. Overseas, too, courses are spreading in which yoga skills are integrated into the practice of activities with the psychotherapist. The reviews on the effects, at the moment are positive. This integration involves learning breathing techniques, and learning movement practices that can reduce physical tension. In fact, this is often problematic in mental health disorders.

Yoga and psychotherapist what is good for body and mind

psychology of yogaOn the implementation of yoga techniques in the work of psychotherapy, a new cognitive behavioural approach is spreading. This is producing a literature that increasingly highlights the benefits associated with inserting yoga practices into different situations.  From depressive disorders, to anxiety disorders, but also for eating disorders and psychosis. The discipline of yoga is a valid support to the treatment plan for different types of patients. This is not to say that you can do psychotherapy small and free by improvising the techniques of yoga, perhaps watching a video on the web.

The idea that yoga can help psychotherapist therapy processes, has in the centre studies and evidence of scientific value. It is still difficult to understand the neurological basis of many mental health problems. Many studies highlight the fact that mental health problems are associated with decreased prefrontal cortex (PFC) activity. And it has been shown that the most effective psychotherapy interventions, are those that lead to greater functionality proper to PFC. Typical yoga activities such as programmed movement or controlled breathing improve the executive function associated with the prefrontal cortex.

The psychology of yoga, a practice for the future

psychology of all kinds of yogaStudies that focus on the benefits of practicing yoga, try to investigate precisely the effects of this discipline at the brain level. We must emphasize the fact that there are various types of yoga, and that these are very different from each other. It is therefore important that the school of cognitive behavioral psychotherapy investigates the benefits that are aroused by different yoga practices. This is a very broad field of study, which at the moment has not been translated into unified knowledge. Studies have shown that yogic exercise can increase the release of oxytocin. This in turn is associated with improved interpersonal function, which can increase the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions.

Other studies have focused on the impact of yogic breathing and posture considering its beneficial effects on the parasympathetic nervous system. Results indicate that these activities can activate the parasympathetic nervous system through the vague nerve. Activation of the parasympathetic nervous system is crucial as it increases the release of Aminobutirric Acid (GABA). To explain it in a very simple way, low levels of GABA are typically associated with poor mental well-being. This includes states of anxiety and depression and chronic pain, while increasing GABA levels, these ailities and various symptoms improve.

These findings are very important but clearly the practice of yoga, cannot replace the role of a good psychologist or psychotherapist. However, the importance of integrating activities within the treatment plan that can promote the well-being of patients must be understood.