60 hours of sessions and reflections leave participants at the 2nd Foundation Course in Yoga with an enlightening experience
The Centre for Indian Psychology, Jain University recently concluded its second foundation course on Yoga Psychology. The aim of the course was to help participants comprehend a psychologically significant system that could be evolved and applied for self-development. The one month long course was inaugurated by an illuminating talk on ‘Paradigms of Psychology: East and West’ by Dr. H.S Ashok, Head of the Department of Psychology, Bangalore University. Speaking on the context, Dr. Ashok, clearly presented the salient features of main stream psychology and Indian psychology, highlighting the contributions made by the former to its western counterpart. The inaugural session was followed by the classes on a more elaborate orientation into Eastern and Western approaches to Psychology. The month long course saw dedicated participants from different walks of life completing 60 hour sessions. These sessions introduced them to theory and application of the psychological dimension of various streams of yoga as depicted in ancient Indian texts like the Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad-Gita and the Yoga Sutras. The course included interactive sessions on the concepts and theories related to consciousness, nature of self, identity and various other streams of yoga, with the primary focus on understanding them in relation to existing theories from mainstream psychology.
One may think of yoga as a useful tool, primarily for physical problems, but a major subject area in yoga is the mind, making it particularly useful for treating mental illness. One of the great beauties of yoga is that it’s not just about taking participants from a negative state of mind to feeling “normal,” which is the goal of most psychologists and physicians. Yoga aims for higher seeking to put its practitioners in touch with a state of peace, joy, and equanimity that yogis insist is everyone’s birthright.
Learning on the basics, the participants were also familiarized with the Centre’s ongoing research in yoga as a tool for first person research in psychology. In this context, they had to undertake a personal project on applying some technique of Yoga Psychology in their life and observe its impact on nature. Further, the course also included a separate four day workshop on various related subjects that were open to all for participation. These workshops were conducted by eminent scholars in the field, giving the participants an in-depth understanding and practical experience of some very important concepts from Yoga Psychology.
The valedictory programme was held under the guidance of Prof. K.S. Shantamani, Chief Mentor, Jain University. Deliberating about the experiences shared by the participants, Prof. Shantamani stressed on the concept of consciousness and the concept of ‘universal mind’ as the underlying reality as a key feature of Indian Psychology and urged the participants to focus on using the particular approach to gain better understanding of their true self and lead a life on this basis.
The course concluded with the participants looking forward to take up similar follow up courses in Yoga Psychology, while key resource persons expressed their keen interest to facilitate similar programmes in the future.