What might yoga philosophy look like if it was shaped by contemporary science? How compatible are cognitive therapies with traditional ideas about alleviating suffering?
Isabel Dziobek is a professor of psychology at the Humboldt University of Berlin, and she’s also a yoga teacher. As we discuss, there are no easy answers to these sorts of questions. Yogic teachings define the self differently to modern researchers, while attributing suffering to karmic effects that drive cycles of birth.
The original aim of renouncing the world isn’t most people’s goal when they go to a yoga class, so teachers often reframe texts such as the Yoga Sūtra to make them align with today’s priorities. Many fill in the gaps with New Age thinking. How might it work to start afresh, including ideas from psychology and neuroscience?