American Institute of Vedic Studies

Short Video Course >>

Yoga Psychology & Yoga Sutras

$75.00

Welcome to our short course in Yoga Psychology and the Yoga Sutras!

Our goal is to teach you the view of the mind and consciousness in the deeper Yoga tradition, particularly the Yoga Sutras, as connected to the broader field of Vedantic knowledge. This is the field of Raja Yoga, the deeper Yoga tradition, not simply any asana based yoga.

This yogic view of mind and consciousness reflects the views of Vedic psychology and Vedic counseling overall. It is part of the Vedic tradition and its teachings of the Rishis that go back to the dawn of history.

We will examine key points of the Yoga Sutras and its traditional connections with Yogic and Vedic teachings. It reflects my study of Sanskrit from the Rigveda to Yoga and Vedanta Shastras.  We will also mention the related Ayurvedic view of the mind, and the views of Ayurvedic psychology, which we have discussed in our other books and teachings.

Course Creator & Instructor

David Frawley (Pandit Vamadeva Shastri) D.Litt is one of the most respected Vedic educators worldwide. He is the only western Vedic teacher to have received the prestigious Padma Bhushan award, the third-highest civilian award from the President of India, for his work as a Vedic teacher. He was one of the first to receive a prestigious doctor of letters, from SVYASA (Swami Vivekananda Yoganusandhana Samsthana), the only deemed Yoga university in India. He has gained a special National Eminence Award from the South Indian Education Society (SIES) under the auspices of the famous Kanchi Shankaracharya Math, one of the main sites of traditional learning in India.

Dr. Frawley is the author of fifty books published in twenty languages worldwide over the last thirty years. He has direct experience teaching and guiding individuals, groups and organizations in the different fields of Yoga, Vedanta, Ayurveda, and Vedic astrology, and has written extensively on all these topics. He has been part of several important Vedic educational institutes and projects worldwide, including at a national level in India. He is considered to be the most accomplished western teacher of an integral approach to Yoga, Vedanta, Ayurveda and Vedic astrology.

Welcome to our short course in Yoga Psychology and the Yoga Sutras!

Our goal is to teach you the view of the mind and consciousness in the deeper Yoga tradition, particularly the Yoga Sutras, as connected to the broader field of Vedantic knowledge. This is the field of Raja Yoga, the deeper Yoga tradition, not simply any asana based yoga.

This yogic view of mind and consciousness reflects the views of Vedic psychology and Vedic counseling overall. It is part of the Vedic tradition and its teachings of the Rishis that go back to the dawn of history.

We will examine key points of the Yoga Sutras and its traditional connections with Yogic and Vedic teachings. It reflects my study of Sanskrit from the Rigveda to Yoga and Vedanta Shastras.  We will also mention the related Ayurvedic view of the mind, and the views of Ayurvedic psychology, which we have discussed in our other books and teachings.

In the Introduction to the course here, we will also provide additional background information on Yoga Psychology, so please read it carefully.

Yoga is based upon a transcendent view of the universe as rooted in and pervaded by Consciousness, Self-aware and beyond all sorrow.

This Vedic science of consciousness does not regard consciousness or intelligence as simply a human or creaturely phenomenon, occurring only a particular biological level. It recognizes an inherent, self-existent awareness beyond name, form and number, time, place and object as the basis of cosmology and the fundamental force behind cosmogenesis. Yoga sees consciousness as all pervasive, and on some level hidden in every aspect and energy of nature.

Developing the Sattvic Mind and Transcending the Mind

If we examine prime Yoga texts starting with the Yoga Sutras, we find that the main orientation of Yoga is twofold, or occurring with two sides or in two stages.

First, Yoga aims at purifying and calming the mind, providing us with a clear, composed, attentive and detached mental field. This entails removing all disturbances of the mind in terms of ignorance, ego and duality, the obsession with the personal self and material world, the factors of the Kleshas in the Yoga Sutras. This means calming our emotional ups and downs of attraction and repulsion, like and dislike, love and hate, and removing our various long term attachments, traumas and turbulence. Yet the mind can only be calmed when we turn our awareness within.

This requires developing the sattvic Buddhi or higher mind and intelligence, which is our highest individual capacity. Such a pure mind and discerning intelligence is required to reflect our true Self beyond the mind.

This same sattvic Buddhi is the basis of psychological health and wellbeing as discussed in Yoga, Ayurveda and Vedanta overall. It puts us in a position to authentically pursue the highest Self-realization but also provides the intelligence for us to achieve all dharmic goals of human life. It makes us into an aware and karmically responsible person.

Second, Yoga at its ultimate aim means returning to the state of pure consciousness, the inner Self, Atman or Purusha, which is beyond the mind and all of its functions. That Self is the Seer of all, the witnessing consciousness for which the mind is but a reflection. Yet it is the seer in a transcendent sense, seeing without an eye, knowing without a mind, or pure seeing and knowing behind and beyond the mind and eye. In that Self we go beyond birth and death, sorrow and suffering, and all the limitations of time, place and karma.

Yoga as a Psychology or Consciousness-based Spirituality

Based upon understanding these two levels of Yoga practice, one could say that Yoga in this higher sense of Raja Yoga or Vedic knowledge is a psychology or means of relieving all psychological agitation and sorrow. Yet the psychological side is only the foundational aspect of Yoga, not its ultimate goal which is to go beyond the mind. Yoga Sutras provides us with a psychology connected to the transcendent.

Yoga is not an ordinary psychology as in western psychology since Freud, which aims mainly at the bringing us to an adequate level of social functioning. Yoga cannot be understood according the views of the mind, the human being or the universe in modern psychology. It must be approached in its own right relative to its place in Vedic knowledge.

Yoga psychology and Vedic psychology which it is part of, is a psychology of transcendence and Self-realization, taking us beyond ego, mind and body to a state of universal Self-realization. As such Yoga is not just a psychology or exploration of the human mind and memory, but an exploration into cosmic consciousness, a journey into inner space as vast, infinite and timeless as any outer space.

When we call Yoga or Vedanta a psychology, it is with a different meaning and focus than modern psychology, though there may be a common ground between the two at different levels or certain views and practices. We will not place Yoga or Vedanta into the parameters of modern psychology. We see a Yoga psychology as new type of psychology that looks beyond the mind.

Yoga Psychology and Self-realization

Traditional Yoga as per Bhagavad Gita and Yoga Sutras is a way of Self-realization, a realization of the universal and transcendent Self, not merely the personal Self. It is a way of Self-knowledge, as knowing the essence of consciousness within us, not simply having information about the external world.

This true Self, Atman or Purusha, is not the bodily or mental self, not the physical or psychological Self. It is the immortal Self beyond the mind. Obviously this a radically different view than how modern science or medicine views the mind. It is more connected to the modern physics view of an underlying consciousness behind the universe as a whole. Yet it is much more extensive than that as well.

In Sanskrit, Yoga is a way of Self-knowledge as Atman-Vidya, knowledge of this transcendent Self.

Its view of knowledge is called Adhyatma or what relates to the Self, but in the broader sense of what relates to the search for the inner Self or Atman. This requires an inner vision and turning of the mind within.

Yoga and the Physical Body

The physical body is not the topic or concern of traditional Yoga except in the sense of aiding in purifying the mind. The goal of Yoga is to deconstruct and transcend physical reality for a reality based on Consciousness only. As such asana or yoga postures play a supportive role in that by calming and making still the body, we can aid in calming and making still the prana and the mind.

Similarly, our human mind is the main topic or central concern of Yoga but only as a means of taking us beyond mental afflictions, disturbances and sorrows: transcending the mind, not simply developing it.

We are referring to Yoga as a psychology in this special sense in which one recognizes the primacy of a consciousness beyond the mind at both individual and universal levels. Only in the transcendent Consciousness is there complete peace, happiness and bliss, Ananda. This is part of a unitary awareness connecting us to the entire universe.

People today largely approach Yoga through asana as a physical discipline aimed at health and fitness. They then expand Yoga into pranayama for additional vitality and healing power. Meditation is eventually added to Yoga but not in terms of its prime focus. Modern Yoga addresses the mind mainly in terms of stress relief or promoting health and rest. Yet anyone who studies Yoga and traditional Yoga gurus is acquainted with the idea of Yoga as meditation, samadhi and Self-realization.

Yoga, Psychological Disturbances and Meditation

Yoga texts and teachings address the distracted, dull and disturbed states of mind within the field of ordinary mental functioning. Their goal has been to remove all mental afflictions to reach a higher awareness.

The main thing we are teaching you is the yogic view of mind and consciousness for your own benefit, so you can more directly approach that state of immutable Self-awareness beyond the mind. These factors are helpful in mental wellbeing but go far beyond it as well.

There are many techniques or methods of meditation both traditional or modern as taught in various spiritual and philosophical traditions. These technique usually involve some orientation of the mind, prana, or senses. They may use mantra and different forms of Self-inquiry.

First, we must recognize that all meditation techniques are support practices, and do not comprise meditation itself, which as unitary state of mind is beyond all methods, techniques and manipulations.

Meditation techniques and methods can help us move into the state of pure meditation. But they are initial tools that will be discarded as we move further. In the beginning they may involve the physical body, the breath, the senses, chakras or mind by way of reference. At a higher level, they take us beyond all external factors to the nature of our own awareness.

True yogic meditation is an individual practice, not a group event, though it can be shared in various ways. That is the approach to meditation that we are teaching here, not a formula based technique to be given out to anyone, but an individually based approach.

May our teachings here inspire you to your own higher Consciousness and Self-realization.

Note our examination of Meditation in Yoga and Ayurveda.

Meditation in Yoga and Ayurveda

SPECIAL HOLIDAY DISCOUNTS!Get additional $50 discount on CERTIFICATION COURSES!

This season of the renewal of the Light, treat yourself or your loved ones with an additional $50.00 discount on on any of our Online Vedic Certificate courses.