Dr. Sohail Ebady M.D. gives an insight into Hypnotherapy, Self-Hypnosis, Yoga and the course concept of Patanjali Institute. You can also find a short version of the article on www.aurawellnesscenter.com.
The term yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Yuj’, which means, “joining, union, to unite”. The original meaning of yoga is the process of uniting the individual with the Universal Self.
Patanjali (2500-4000 years ago) defined yoga as, “the conscious process of gaining mastery of the mind.” By mastering the mind, we are able to reach our original state and unite with our Universal Self. The methodology used to accomplish this goal includes many therapeutic techniques that allows the practitioner to experience true health.
The Five Layers of Human Existence: Pancha Kosa
In the tradition of yoga, a human being is said to have five layers of existence.
1. Annamaya Kosa (Physical Layer)
The first layer consists of the physical frame – the tissues and cellular structures that comprise the human body. It is composed of the Five Elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Wind and Space. The food that we consume nourishes each of these elements.
A healthy yogic diet, yoga asanas, loosening exercises and kriyas are all techniques employed to remove ailments and symptoms at the physical level.
2. Pranayama Kosa (Life Force/Prana Layer)
Life force is the basic fabric the universe. It comprises all things inside and outside of our body. The Physical Layer extends from the Prana Layer. A harmonious flow of prana helps nourish every cell in the body. In fact, this flow is what gives cells life. Prana flows through subtle channels, called Nadis, which cover the entire body like a vast electrical grid.
Pranayama is a series of breathing techniques that removes random agitations and disruptions in the flow of prana. This set of yogic practices helps remove ailments in the Pranayama Kosa layer.
3. Manomaya Kosa (Mental Layer)
This subtle layer heavily influences the Pranayama Kosa and Annamaya Kosa. Manomaya Kosa dictates the aspect of one’s personality. It is where the mind carries out various functions: perception, memory and ego.
A regular meditation practice allows the mind to relax and, with dedicated practice, can ultimately lead to super consciousness (Samadhi).
4. Vijnanamaya Kosa (Wisdom, Knowledge, Intelligence, Intuition Layer)
This layer continuously guides us through life. It instructs us to take, or not take, a course of action. It helps the Manomaya Kosa master the basic instincts of life.
Understanding is the key to operating the Vijnamaya Kosa. Upanisads are the treasury of this understanding – the redeemer of all misery and obsession. The lack of knowledge is what represents wrong habits, agitations and suffering. Correct knowledge immolates attachments, agitations and obsessions – freeing the mind from mental agitation.
5. Anandamaya Kosa (Bliss and Cosmic Consciousness Layer)
Anandamaya Kosa is void of any emotional states – it a state of silence, harmony and perfect health. It is the most subtle layer of human existence. It is only reached after one crosses each of the above layers, one by one. One must journey inwards towards the Universal Self with constant self-awareness, drive to improve oneself and the power of auto-suggestion (self-hypnosis).
According to the yoga texts, Anandamaya Kosa is when one is healthiest, in perfect harmony and possesses balance of all faculties. At Vijnanamaya Kosa, there are movements that are channelized in the correct direction. As one advances to the Manomaya Kosa, imbalances often start to appear. This can greatly disrupt one’s progress.
The Need for Hypnotherapy in combination with Yoga
The mind becomes continuously agitated throughout interactions with the world. This leads to imbalances within the Manomaya Kosa, called adhis, which is the Sanskrit word for stress. When stress is left unchecked, it causes violent fluctuations in the flow of prana through the nadis (Pranayama Kosa). When the pranayama flows through the wrong path, without proper rhythm and harmony, it affects the Annamaya Kosa and results in various ailments. These ailments are known in modern medicine as psychosomatic diseases.
Unwanted thoughts, behaviors, habits, feelings phobias and situational reactions are programmed deep within the Manomaya Kosa (mind layer). This deep seeded programming creates inner conflicts and mental agitation that is harmful to overall health, asana practice, pranayama and meditation. In fact, this programming can become so debilitating that meditation is no longer practical.
It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for someone to de-program this programming without the right tools. Asana practice, pranayama and meditation are not sufficient. This is when self-hypnosis and hypnotherapy are used. Auto-suggestion (self-hypnosis), sankalpa, positive imagination and contemplation are all yogic techniques that help alleviate this mental agitation.
This is why I combine the science of hypnotherapy, self-hypnosis and yoga. They are all yogic practices as they help heal the five layers of human existence.
Dr. Sohail Ebady M.D., Patanjali Institute (2013)