Matthew Cohen, MSW

Matthew Cohen, MSW

Social Justice Solutions | Staff Writer
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The Marriage Of Yoga and Psychology

In many ways the West has been invaded by the East. Spiritual disciplines such as Yoga, Buddhism, Hinduism and Taoism have become common influences on Western culture. Understanding how these traditions will merge with typically Western disciplines, such as philosophy and psychology, will help give shape and understanding to the form that these practices will take in their new home. Mariana Caplan, Ph.D. is exploring just this subject and trying to do so from both the Western and Eastern perspective.

As a long-term psychotherapist and yoga teacher/practitioner, I have been researching and teaching on the integration of yoga and Western psychology for many years.

Her article in the Huffington Post delineates preliminary findings and the challenges that perspective students and teachers will have as they integrate traditions in the future. For example:

Our research has revealed the need to become aware and understand the implications of yoga as a practice that was articulated in Asian culture primarily by men, but is practiced by a majority of women in a Western culture and paradigm.

An especially excellent point and perspective, and one that is often overlooked. Buddhism has vaulted from India, into South-East Asia, China, and Japan. All of those countries were male dominated. The world has never had an opportunity to see how the spiritual leadership of woman will transform the Ancient Indian forms. It should be a point of hope in a world that operates on the brink of hopelessness.

Dr. Caplan’s article is an excellent read and so I urge anyone interested in the intersection of the East and West to read it and keep track of her future research.

Written by Matthew Cohen, SWI
SJS Staff Writer

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