The Intersection of Yoga and Psychotherapy – HPP 12

Nataraja Kallio, MA

Whether you live in a rural or urban area, it’s likely you have a yoga studio or yoga teacher in your town. In the United States alone, nearly 20 million people are practicing yoga in some form or another, which begs the question, “what’s so compelling about yoga when it comes to living life in a well-balanced way?”

Many people are familiar with the physical benefits yoga has to offer the practitioner. We can get in better shape, get healthier and have more energy. And there’s also the spiritual practice of yoga. Throughout pockets of the world, people utilize yoga as a spiritual system with different goals in mind.

In this episode, Nataraja Kallio, the Director of the Yoga Studies program at Naropa University, is going to take you through a brief history of yoga, what it was in ancient times, and it’s overlap to what occurs in a psychotherapeutic setting.

Where the conversation gets VERY interesting is in his discussion about how our memories are stored in our bodies from a yogic perspective and how doing yoga postures works with those memories. He will also cover a general understanding of emotion and the ways in which many yoga practices work to keep a person in balance. And make sure to stay to the end where he talks about the mysterious kundalini energy that you may have heard about and its relationship to psychiatric conditions.

Show Notes:

Abuse of power in spiritual communities [6:30]

A brief history of yoga [12:30]

How yoga came to the United States [16:30]

Overlaps between yoga, psychology and personal development [19:30]

Somatic memories and yoga postures [24:00]

Understanding emotion and how to stay in balance [29:00]

When a yoga practice becomes a sophisticated dissociation mechanism [38:45]

Kundalini awakenings and Mental illness [48:15]

Nataraja Kallio, MA

Nataraja has been a student of Yoga since the late 80’s. He studied for seven years in India where he immersed himself in the contemplative traditions of yoga and Buddhism. He has advanced degrees in Religious Studies and Psychology. As director at Naropa University of the only undergraduate yoga studies degree program in the U.S., Nataraja focuses on translating yoga to the West in a way that honors its roots and integrative spirit.