The ideas of Hinduism in general and the classes of yoga in particular are aggressively permeating the European continent and the United States. Sometimes, the postulates of yoga are applied for the therapeutic needs of psychology, although this practice remains precarious and highly disputed by the academic community. Analyzing the strong points of yoga, it should be highlighted that it is absolutely different from the existing psychological frameworks of the Western and American schools of psychology. Human being is regarded as a part of the system, the cosmic fraction that is destined to fulfill its purpose, while all the Western schools centralize it (Frager Fadiman, 2012). Seemingly, this approach is more explanatory, when the patient reports that he cannot find himself and his true vacation. Explaining to him that he is nothing, but the part of the great system and that his karma is already determined can exercise a tremendous soothing effect on him and help to recuperate from a particular mental distress.
Furthermore, three pillars of the Hindu philosophy, i.e. the concepts of gunas is the best way to depict our reality. Indeed, virtually everything can be explained through action, inertia or light, known is Western world as spiritual self. It is an inconvertible truth that some of us are dominated by one of these components, and finding a balance can and should be established as a long run goal of any psychological therapy.
The practice of yoga however demands some austerity rules to be strictly observed, such as fasting or excessive physical training. Incontestably, these elements are the integral parts of Hindu culture, but their excessive practice may result in severe traumas and physical disorders suffered by the Europeans, who are not sufficiently prepared for this practices.
Our daily life is replete with examples of yoga popularity. It is practiced by the stars and multiple yoga centers are scattered throughout the United States, the European Union, and Russia, not to mention its cultural popularity among the Eastern nations. However, my personal observations supported by number of scholarly studies in this regard suggest that yoga is practice for recreational all stress blustering activities, rather than being positioned as a profound philosophical study, as it is in reality.
A good friend of mine, who is Capoeira-addicted, attended yoga classes with the sole purpose of enhancing his stretching capabilities and being able to make the splits, the handstand and the cartwheel, the elements which are the basic in Capoeira. He never pondered over about the psychological message, which is guru try to convey to him.
The concept of karma is however popularly alluded to by the Western media and common people. Under the postulates of Hindu studies, the Karma is relatively similar to the Western concept of destiny, with a slight difference that the Karma is totally affected by our previous actions. When the shuttle Columbia disintegrated in the earth atmosphere, bereaving the lives of seven United States astronauts, the chief of NASA inadvertently said that it was their Karma. Indeed it was, since the miscalculations and poor technical surveillance of the NASA engineers predetermined their premature demises. There is however no regular proof that Hindu therapeutic technique helps the Western people to recuperate from their mental disorders. Possibly, it helps our Oriental brothers, but nowadays it is clear that our mindsets in general, and approaches to the applied psychology function differently.
Overall, my strong opinion in this regard is that what specific elements of yoga can be applied in psychology, generally it should be positioned as a hobby and never treated seriously for the needs of applied psychology. However, it should be referred to under exceptional circumstances, when no traditional technique happened to be positive.
Frager, R., Fadiman, J. (2012). Personality and personal growth. New York, NY: Pearson Education.