|LETTER TO EDITOR
|Year : 2023 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 126-127
Yoga and self-reflection
Vinod Kumar1, Pooja More2, Mariamma Phillip3, Naren P Rao4, BN Gangadhar5
1 Founder, Yogayur Chikitsa (www.Yogayur Chikitsa.com), Department of Biostatistics, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Psychiatry Social Work, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Integrative Medicine, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
4 Department of Biostatistics, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
5 Department of Psychiatry, Department of Integrative Medicine and Department of Biostatistics, National Institute of Mental, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry and Former Director, NIMHANS, President, Medical Assessment and Rating Board, National Medical Commission, Government of India (GoI), New Delhi, India
|Date of Submission||14-Jul-2023|
|Date of Acceptance||15-Jul-2023|
|Date of Web Publication||29-Aug-2023|
Dr. Vinod Kumar
Founder, Yogayur Chikitsa (www.Yogayur Chikitsa.com), Department of Biostatistics, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, Karnataka
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Kumar V, More P, Phillip M, Rao NP, Gangadhar B N. Yoga and self-reflection. J Appl Conscious Stud 2023;11:126-7
Self-reflection has been defined as the inspection and evaluation of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors by oneself (Grant et al., 2002). Hence, a person with high self-reflection should be able to demonstrate reasonably good ability to introspect his thoughts and feelings and act on them in a thoughtful manner. An advanced yogi is supposed to have good control over vrittis (modifications) of mind (Saraswati, 2013). Hence, an advanced yogi would also demonstrate high self-reflection due to sheer ability to have control over his thought patterns. This sounds logical but a limited research work has focused on this area, attributed to the lack of standardized tools to measure the ability to self-reflect from the yoga perspective.
We were able to locate two research studies demonstrating the development of a yoga-based Self-Reflection Scale: Swadhyaya scale (Singh and Sahni, 2016) and the scale for assessment of self-reflection (Kumar, 2022). Swadhyaya scale focused on the concept of study of scriptures, self-study, self-discipline, self-awareness, and introspection for the item generation. Scale for the assessment of self-reflection identified the domains with inputs of subject matter experts: importance of action, openness, importance of control/voluntariness, constructive dissatisfaction, being in the present, yogic slowness, and samatvam. Both these scales have their strengths and limitations, but the main lacuna in both scales is a lack of focus on the core concepts from yogic perspective. Besides, both scales are not able to claim a complete understanding of the concept of self-reflection as understood from yogic view.
We want to bring your attention to the core concepts of yoga which have been highlighted in Patanjali Yoga Sutra as well as Bhagavad Gita and can possibly be used for the development of a self-reflection construct on the basis of yoga. These are abhyasa and vairagya. Both these have been considered mandatory for the achievement of the ultimate target of chitta vritti nirodhah (Saraswati, 2013).
Abhyasa is “to be established in the endeavor.” It becomes firm by being continued with faith and without interruption for a long time. In simple words, abhyasa can be stated as the ability to get engaged/involved as per will.
Vairagya is defined as the freedom from the craving for the sense objects ever experienced or heard. Patanjali goes further to state that the highest vairagya is achieved when one is free from the triguna due to the knowledge of purusha. Akin to abhyasa and vairagya is also proposed with the ultimate target of chitta vritti nirodhah. In a simplified way, we can state that vairagya demonstrates the indomitable ability to remain detached/unengaged/nonattached as per will. Hence, abhyasa and vairagya are the two paths when followed result in high self-reflection and in the absence of these two, the ability to self-reflect remains poor. Apart from these two paths, samatvam and sthitaprajna are two concepts from Bhagavad Gita (Goyandka, 1969), which depicts the state of achievement that can possibly be seen among people with high self-reflection. Samatvam is the balanced state of mind and sthitaprajna is the state when one is satisfied within oneself. These two are the outcome of the long process of abhyasa and vairagya. In our opinion, it would be worth tapping the process instead of the outcome to measure the ability of a person to self-reflect, as the responses to the tap outcome will be affected more by biased responses from the subjects. Hence, future yoga-based scales to measure self-reflection, need to look at the possibility of use of these four domains.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
| References|| |
Grant, A. M., Franklin, J., and Langford, P. (2002). The self-reflection and insight scale: A new measure of private self-consciousness. Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal
Saraswati, S. (2013). Four Chapters on Freedom – Commentary on Yoga Sutra of Patanjali
. Yoga Publications Trust, Munger, Bihar, India.
Singh, K., and Sahni, P. (2016). Swadhyaya scale: An Indian perspective. The International Journal of Indian Psychology
Kumar, V. (2022). Development and Validation of Yoga-Based Scale to Assess Self – Reflection among Healthy Individuals and Patients with Schizophrenia. (Ph.D. Thesis). National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS). Bangalore. (Unpublished Report).
Goyandka, J. (1969). Srımad Bhagavad Gıta: With Sanskrit Text and English Translation
. Gorakhpur: Gita Press.