The Intersection of Mindfulness and Psychology

| 11/11/2008 2:10:43 PM

Yoga on RocksMeditation and psychology are intertwining as experts in the fields realize the benefits of a symbiotic relationship. Joelle Hann reports for Whole Life Times that many psychologists have begun to incorporate yoga and mindfulness into their therapies, and some yoga instructors are studying up on psychology to create “yoga psychotherapy” for their clients.

“Integrating yoga-based methods into psychotherapeutic work presents inherent challenges,” Hann writes. Part of the problem lies in a strict taboo against physical contact in traditional psychotherapy, a standard born out of concern about abuse from therapists. There are, however, many yoga-based therapies that don’t involve any touching. For example, some psychologists have found that controlled breathing and meditative exercises can go a long way toward psychological healing.

Many of these mindfulness-based therapies have hard science to back them up. “Mindfulness reduces stress, boosts immune functioning, reduces chronic pain, lowers blood pressure, and helps patients cope with cancer,” Jay Dixit writes for Psychology Today.  The article offers six tips on how people can incorporate mindfulness into daily lives.

The mindfulness exercises have also been used to help children in war-torn countries. In the September-October issue of Utne Reader, Aaron Huey wrote about a yoga class in the Allahoddin Orphanage in Kabul, Afghanistan. Huey writes that yoga helps the children “move away from painful thoughts to ones that give them strength. In a place so full of suffering, the comfort this simple routine provides is immeasurable.”

Image by RaminusFalcon, licensed under Creative Commons.

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