What is Yoga?

In the past decade, yoga has exploded into national consciousness, with an estimated 15 million Americans practicing it. Current scientific research has established what yogis have known for centuries: Yoga improves mood, reduces depression and anxiety,and decreases stress.

Yoga, defined as a practice of physical postures, breathing exercises, meditation, and a distinct philosophy, is a psychology in and of itself. It is an inherently transformative practice that changes one’s body, promotes mental clarity, and provides avenues for spiritual development. The Positive Psychology movement, which focuses on people’s strengths and positive emotions, arose in part to counter Western psychology’s traditional focus on psychic pain, negative emotions, and pathology.

Although Positive Psychology is viewed as a “revolutionary new direction,” a similar strength based psychology has been present for thousands of years in the ancient teachings of yoga. Linking the best of modern psychological treatments with ancient yoga practices has the potential to be a powerful new tool to support mental wellness.

Current Research at Heartland Yoga

Our desire to bridge psychology and yoga comes from the deep belief that these disciplines can support human beings in their quest for happiness and wholeness, and that the whole can be more powerful than the sum of these individual parts.

Although yoga appears to be a potentially powerful intervention for mental health, there is no current data on how many mental health professionals practice yoga or integrate it into their work with clients.

We are in the process of collecting survey data on the number of mental health professionals that use yoga in their work, how they integrate it, and what aspects of the yoga practice they find most useful with clients. This information will help us to:

  1. Create an online network of mental health professionals integrating yoga and psychotherapy
  2. Provide direction for theory development and research
  3. Inform the training program for mental health professionals that teaches how to integrate yoga philosophy and techniques into psychotherapy.
To take part in this research, and/or join the online network of mental health professionals who integrate yoga into psychotherapy please contact us at info@icheartlandyoga.com.

Disclaimer: Please note that the content on this webpage is not intended to be a substitute for seeking professional medical advice or treatment. The links on this webpage are provided for convenience only and do not imply any endorsement of those sites.