Yoga integrates philosophy, psychology, and practices beautifully and deeply.

By Dr. Ganesh Mohan

Philosophy can be broadly defined as the study of the nature of life, as we live and experience it and beyond. Psychology is the study of our human mind and behavior. Practices are the actions we do to actualize desired changes in our life.

All these three—philosophy, psychology, and practices—are important in a comprehensive preventive and healing approach to wellbeing and therapy.

A challenge in modern wellbeing systems is the absence of consistent overarching frameworks that unite these three. We often see fragments, each in isolation: indeed, these three subjects are often taught under different fields of study nowadays.

Yoga integrates philosophy, psychology, and practices, beautifully and deeply.

Philosophy: Yoga presents a life-view going from suffering to complete freedom from suffering. The breadth of the presentation covers topics ranging from spirituality to the origin of the world.

Psychology: But the definition of yoga by Patanjali is purely psychological—“Yoga is a still mind.” Therefore, every part of the philosophical explanation is necessarily connected with psychological transformation too.

Practices: No one can decrease their suffering just by learning about things: we have to do something. So, practices consistent with philosophy and psychology are also in every step of yoga.

The deep integration of these three pillars is no accident. It is the result of deep thought and compassionate effort from greater teachers.

Yoga has its roots in the lived experience of sages in the ancient past, in their deep meditation. Transcendental states of being were a natural result of such deep inner absorption. From that insight, a transformative philosophy of life is bound to emerge.

The key that makes yoga special here is that sages like Patanjali defined and explained that transformative experience in psychological language and practical steps. So, those states did not merely remain unattainable ideals, out of the reach of the average person. They wanted you and me also to be able to move towards those inner experiences.

Studying and practicing yoga gifts us with the possibility of embracing a cohesive philosophy, psychology, and practice that adds tremendous value to our lives. This integration gives us satisfaction—intellectually, stabilitys—emotionally, and transformation—practically.