What is the difference between yoga and bioenergetic therapy?
First of all, bioenergetic therapy is therapy. It’s a type of psychotherapy and it is based on the premise that the mind and body are not separate.
What does it mean, the mind and body are not separate?
When you have emotional difficulties, what you’ll notice is that there are correlating physical sensations and experiences that you’re having. And that you can work with those physical sensations and by doing so you will be changing what is happening for you emotionally. In that way, the mind and body are not separate.
Yoga and Bioenergetic Therapy
So, the basis of bioenergetic therapy starts with focusing on what is happening inside. It is being mindfully aware and building intention. And in that way, it is similar to yoga. Both yoga and bioenergetic therapy are about building mindfulness and intention. Because when you live mindfully and intentionally you are going to be more in control of what you do.
The difference between yoga and bioenergetic therapy is emotional expression. In bioenergetics, once you become mindful of what’s happening in your body, then you allow yourself to express it emotionally. And from my understanding of how yoga works, that is not necessarily what you do. You may notice what is there but expressing and understanding your emotions is not the focus of yoga.
Oftentimes, in order to feel more at equilibrium, it’s important for us to discharge this buildup of energy in our bodies. Energy builds up in different ways. For example; we take in food, and energy builds up, and we eliminate it in a private room. So, by the same method, energy can enter into our body from interactions we have with people. And sometimes, this results in an emotional energy buildup from dealing with people; angry, frustrated, stressed out, etc.
We learn to deal with them in rational and socially acceptable ways. But oftentimes, this energy buildup has nowhere to go. So, we walk around carrying this energy around in us. The practices of bioenergetics are about allowing yourself to discharge that energy buildup. And from what I understand about yoga, this is a major difference between bioenergetic therapy and yoga.
Integrating Your History
Yoga and bioenergetic therapy both use the body to elicit change and improve your life. But in bioenergetics, we explore your past in very concrete ways. We take the unpleasant experiences that are happening today and we integrate them with the stories of your past. Memories of an experience that happened long ago that you were never able to directly discharge your feelings about. Hence, this experience is locked up inside your unconscious. Subsequently, current experiences that send you over the edge are generally substitutes for the expression of energy that belongs to those locked up experiences in your unconscious.
Bioenergetic therapy allows you to take that history and the current experiences in your life and integrate them so that they no longer create the excess energetic load on you. The daily stresses in your life don’t have the same overwhelming impact on you.
From what I understand about yoga, there is no exploration of your psychological history. While in bioenergetic therapy, that is often the main focus.
In summary, bioenergetic therapy focuses not only on being mindful of what is happening inside of you and intentional about your actions, but, you are also learning to discharge what you notice and combine the energy of today with its historical origins. You do this to take away the power that the emotions of those historical incidences are having on your current life.
That is a little bit complicated.
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