Mental health disorders are on the rise throughout the world.
This results in anxieties, fears, depression, inferiority
and similar emotions. Therefore, learning the management of
negative mental health is a must for all of us.
Yoga offers comprehensive solutions for managing this
negative mental health.
Before discussing how to manage, we must understand the
genesis of negative conditions in the mind. According to
yoga, all negative emotions take root from the matter
present in the subconscious. But how does this matter enter
The basic cause of this is attachment. We humans develop
attachments to persons, things or emotions. This attachment
raises desires and expectations. These desires ultimately
lead to tensions, frustrations and conflicts. This affects
the ego, which feels insecure. As a defense mechanism, the
ego represses such emotions into the subconscious so that
the mind is peaceful again.
However, these repressions are not dead. They are after
all repressed feelings. They remain active in the
subconscious resulting in the negative emotions we talked of
earlier – anxieties, depression, aggression and fear.
Therefore, the solution lies in preventing the build up
of such repression in the subconscious and then also
addressing the existing repressed garbage to gradually take
it out of the system.
The yoga way
Yoga has techniques of ‘Pratyahara’ that work both as a
preventive and a curative. ‘Pratyahara’ literally means
dissociation or withdrawal of sensory awareness from the
external world (Swami Niranjananda, 1993).
In this, the practitioner is guided to become a ‘witness’
to the inputs and the workings of the mind. By sitting
quietly or lying down, you are encouraged to internalize all
your awareness to observe the happenings by detaching the
ego or the ‘I’.
The specific ‘Pratyahara’ techniques include Antar Mouna,
Yoga Nidra and Ajapa Japa. These techniques work both as a
preventive and a curative.
At the preventive level, they interrupt the mechanism of
repression and so restrict the rubbish that goes into the
subconscious. By developing the witness attitude, the ego
becomes detached, so it does not feel insecure. As a result,
the need for repression goes away. Hence, the subconscious
is not fed with the negative thoughts and this prevents
build up of anxieties.
At the curative level, the mind is internalized and
encouraged to play with its own contents. As the thoughts
get provoked up into the conscious level, the deep repressed
impressions come up. These are again witnessed without ego
attachment. As a result ego does not feel insecure and the
need to repress these impressions does not remain. As a
result they are NOT sent back for recycling at a later date.
Instead they are thrown out of the system for good.
As such impressions are progressively thrown out, the
mind gradually becomes unburdened and forms a clean ground
for fresh positive thoughts. This results in mental
quietness and peace.