Yoga and Meditation to prevent and manage “destructive emotions”

Yoga has long been tested as a “therapeutic tool” for prevention and management of negative emotions. In fact, its major goal is to train the mind. Patanjali (the Father of Yoga, who compiled the Yoga Sutra) was comparing the Mind to a Monkey whose symptoms are lust, greed, jealousy, anger, ego, stress, depression and all those destructive emotions we suffer from because we gave all our powers to the mind and allowed it to be our master. Therefore, we are happy when the mind is happy, and depressed when it is depressed. In a way, we have come to believe that we are the mind itself.

Yoga, especially with its breathing techniques (pranayama), concentration and meditation slowly brings to the awareness that this “monkey mind” is responsible for our unhappiness, and therefore has to be trained in order to live a better quality of life. A busy mind that never stops thinking will inevitably bring about negative thoughts,  which are also responsible for our bad health. On the contrary, positive thoughts and calmness of the mind can make us see life in the right perspective, enable us to take the right decisions, be healthy.

Meditation has been tested to be a technique that, if regularly practiced, enables to take control of our mental activity, favours calmess of the mind and the development of positive emotions like love and compassion. To this purpose, it is worth mentioning the scientific tests reported on the book written by the Dalai Lama and Daniel Goleman entitled “Destructive Emotions”. These tests were carried out in 2001 in a lab in Wisconsin University (USA) and basically consisted in asking a Buddhist monk to meditate, in order to understand if an individual is able to produce himself positive and lasting changes in his cerebral functions, whose impact on emotions would be more lasting than the use of drugs. And therefore, understand if individuals can train the mind in order to overcome destructive emotions, by managing their own emotions themselves, without necessarily being individuals who tend toward a spiritual life. The monk underwent different tests, like fMRI and EEG, after which there was evidence of the fact that the mind can be trained if practicing techniques like meditation, because tha structure of the brain can be changed. Moreover, there has been evidence of an improvement in mental and physical health. In short, the conclusion of the tests was that thanks to some methods apt to train the mind, it is possible to better control some negative emotions like anger and jealousy.

Let’s then start to train our monkey mind to silence….

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