Lessons from a great yoga master and an eminent psychoanalyst that explore what psychotherapy and yoga philosophy have in common
Yoga philosophy and Freud's revolutionary approach to psychology could not have been developed in more different times, places, or cultural conditions. And yet these two profound and dynamic systems of understanding human behavior, emotions, perception, and what's essential in our existence have an astonishing amount to share. What we learn by comparing their similarities as well as their differences can enhance how we comprehend our lives and our potential for change.
In Freud and Yoga, the great yoga master T.K.V. Desikachar and the eminent psychoanalyst Hellfried Krusche examine forty classic sayings, or sutras, from the vantage point of their respective disciplines. Through clear, candid conversations that draw on long experience and are illustrated by case studies from the clinic and the shala, these two experts explain the concepts, terms, forces, and processes in their traditions.
Therapists and patients, yoga adepts and professionals, and readers interested in psychology and spirituality will find this unique investigation fascinating, enriching, and useful. In a time when Western and Eastern modalities have ever more to offer each other, Freud and Yoga is a watershed work—one that draws us closer to understanding our own nature and the deep workings of the human psyche.
Connection emerges from the most unexpected of dialogues in this sensitive merging of Eastern yoga with Western psychoanalysis two seemingly opposite disciplines from equally distant hemispheres. The book is structured almost entirely as a conversation between yogi Desikacher (Health Healing and Beyond) and psychoanalyst Kruche highlighting their point-by-point discussion of Pantanjali's Yoga Sutras, a foundational text for modern yoga. This format works well to foster an illuminating discussion, but takes too much for granted that psychoanalysis remains an apt stand-in for the modern world, given that the practice has lost some of its luster in the last few decades. Further misleading are the references to Freud, whom, despite his image's prominent placement on the cover, receives little mention in the actual dialogue. The East-West dichotomy drawn here between yoga and psychoanalysis also underemphasizes the prominence yoga has attained specifically in the West. But even if we are not given a complete sense of what defines these philosophies, Desikachar and Krusche do manage to convey their shared focuses on the internal and interpersonal. What readers can gather from this discussion, then, are the fundamental values that unite two disciplines usually considered so disparate that they are rarely spoken of in the same breath