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"yoga And Personality Development "

By Author: Kara Thorsen
Total Articles: 17

Personality is an important theme. In modern psychology, several approaches have been adopted to understand it. However, from Yogic point of view, personality can be understood from a different perspective. A holistic personality comprises physical, emotional, intellectual, social and spiritual dimensions.
After going through this unit, you will be able to:
Describe the concept of holistic personality from Yogic point of view
Distinguish yogic concept of personality from its modern concept
Describe the concept of integrated holistic personality
Explain yogic ways of holistic personality development
Describe yogic attitudes for personality development
Integrate the practices of Aṣṭāṅga Yoga into holistic personality development
Relate various Yogic practices with different dimensions of personality
Yogic concepts of personality
Personality is a central theme of the disciplines of Iyengar Yoga in Montreal and psychology. Personality refers to persistent patterns of a person's behavior. It tells about the unique characteristics of a person. You are aware that in modern psychology, personality has been explained in various ways. For the convenience of understanding, these theories of personality have been divided into four broad categories, namely, type and trait theories, psychoanalytical theories, learning theories, and humanistic-existential theories. Modern psychology recognizes body and mind as the two entities of a person.
In order to understand mental processes and behavior of an individual, modern psychology takes the help of various concepts like ego, self, consciousness. However, in Yoga philosophy, personality has been viewed differently. Yoga views the person more deeply over and above physical body and mind; it has added a third entity called self (ātmā).
In Iyengar Yoga, the concepts of ego, self, and consciousness have different connotations. Concepts of pañcakoṣas and guṇas are very relevant in the context of understanding and development of personality. You can understand the above paragraph if you look around and observe how your friends and family members behave; how they interact with one another; how they express their feelings and emotions; how they react or respond to a given situation or event. Each one of your friends behaves differently. One, who is short tempered, reacts furiously; the other keeps cool, no matter what happens.
Personality Development
You might have seen that some people in your neighbourhood are physically strong, but are weak in grasping basic arithmetic or even alphabets. This is an uncomfortable state of personality. You might have also come across certain highly intelligent students or teachers who quickly lose their temper on just drop of a hat. So also a contra example is available. A physically weak student is extraordinary in his studies. Even though it will be a rare thing to find a person who is very good in all dimensions, yet the discussion on an integrated personality would essentially comprise all these unusually recognised aspects.
Personality development is a multidimensional phenomenon. There are several dimensions which need to be integrated. Absence of any one dimension makes one's personality incomplete and lopsided. For a holistic personality, the following dimensions are required to be integrated.
1. Physical dimension
Physical dimension is mainly concerned with the development of body from anatomical and physiological point of view. Changes in height, weight, and motor skills, development of brain, hormonal changes, cardiovascular changes etc. – all are parts or aspects of the physical development. The physical dimension is concerned with physical health and fitness of body. It gets reflected in healthy functioning of the body where different systems of body work in a coordinated way.
2. Emotional dimension
The emotional dimension involves development of skills for management of emotions including feelings and attitudes. Emotions may be positive such as state of happiness, joy, contentment, love, kindness, compassion etc. They may be negative also, such as state of hate, anger, fear, sadness, jealousy etc. It is important that positive emotions are developed to the maximum; and negative emotions are controlled and expressed in a proper way. It is equally important that a person is emotionally stable. There should not be frequent and rapid mood swings. Thus we can say that emotional stability, development of positive emotions, proper expression and channelization of negative emotions lie in this domain. The development of this dimension is reflected in appropriate emotional reaction towards a given situation.
3. Cognitive, intellectual dimension
Cognitive or intellectual development is related to mental abilities and mental processes, such as perception, learning, memory, thinking, language, concept-formation, reasoning, decision making, problem solving, creative activities etc. Due to the development of this dimension, we are able to acquire new skills and knowledge about the facts and environment around us and perform various mental tasks like analysing, synthesising, evaluating etc. Cognitive development enables us to develop right perspective about the concepts, things or situations.
4. Social dimension
The social dimension of personality is concerned with social skills. This dimension includes inter-dependence, harmony with others, behaving according to rules and norms of the society, developing healthy and caring relationships with those around us etc. A person may be called socially developed if s/he conforms to the social norms and can bring balance between her/his social and personal life. The development of this dimension gets reflected in the feeling of association with other people and participating in community activities.

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