Hypnosis, Yoga & Meditation – the connection
Hypnosis, Yoga & Meditation – the connection
I am fascinated by yoga, meditation and hypnosis, and have been for most of my adult life, because they are all part of the same family. I believe they are tools for self-development and self-care to live life to your fullest potential. Michelangelo has been quoted in saying ‘I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free’. What we want to create is already there inside of us, but we need to chisel away at the unnecessary to get to the truth and beauty within.
Meditation and yoga share the same benefits as hypnosis. There is nothing supernatural or magical about it. All hypnosis is self-hypnosis, even when you have a hypnotherapist guiding you. The hypnotic experience is a conscious experience where you are aware and in control, just as in meditation.
There are so many types of yoga and so much written about it, but fundamentally it is a way to heal the body by taking more control over it, calm the mind so you can access your inner wisdom and heal your heart and emotions to bring more joy and gratitude into your life. Hatha Yoga where postures are practiced is often described as a moving meditation. You are moving whilst keeping an awareness at the breath. In savasana (corpse pose) we go inside and let go and when laying in savasana we can practice yoga nidra which is another term for yoga sleep. Yoga nidra directs the yogi to bring attention to each part of the body to relax it. Sankalpa (affirmations) can then be repeated, which are basically suggestions that are absorbed by the subconscious. The conscious mind acts like a filter, but is relaxed at this time. Yoga nidra is similar to what is called progressive relaxation in hypnosis as a way to induce trance for hypnotherapy
There are two parts to our mind – the conscious and subconscious. Although it seems like the conscious mind is what runs the show and we make reasonable decisions with it, we are ruled by the desires of the subconscious. Here is where all our habits and learned behaviours are stored. Meditation induces a trance-like state using focused attention to calm the chatter of the mind and bring more self-awareness by passively observing the subconscious mind. Hypnosis also brings about trance using focused attention, but with suggestions to accelerate desired changes. Self-hypnosis is being practiced by millions of people in some form or other on a regular basis (although they would not necessarily call it this), and the reason they do is because this is where our power is to make beneficial changes.
The term hypnosis originates from Hypnos the Greek god of sleep. Hypnos was the father of Morpheus, god of dreams. Some of the first recorded information on hypnosis comes from over 5000 years ago. There are early references to hypnosis being used as a therapy which date back to Ancient Greece and Egypt, where people went to sleep temples to be cured of their illness. Even further back, hypnotic procedures are mentioned in the Vedas the most ancient religious texts which some say were written between 1500 and 500BC and are the original source of yogic teaching. It is thought that the hypnotic state has been used for healing by all cultures throughout time.
Hypnosis as we know it today has its origins in Mesmerism, a process developed by Franz Anton Mesmer in the 1700s, with his theories of animal magnetism. He believed that everybody had channels in the body where magnetic fluid ran through. If there were any blockages in these channels, then it would cause emotional or physical disease. Then in the 1800s a man called James Braid, often called the father of hypnosis, believed hypnosis to be a paralysis of the nervous system during a sleep like state. The theories and definitions of hypnosis have changed many times since then and thanks to CAT and MRI scanning is regularly researched as a medical intervention. The use of hypnosis in medicine was endorsed by the British Medical Association back in 1955 and has been used by doctors and dentists ever since.
People will often say they do not feel like they have been hypnotised. This is because the trance state doesn’t feel unfamiliar. It’s the same as day-dreaming or being engrossed in a really good book, although everyone experiences hypnosis and meditation differently. Some people experience it as the body being pleasantly relaxed whilst still aware of sounds without the sounds bothering them, like being awake whilst sleeping, you are conscious of where you are and what you are doing but too relaxed to want to think about it. The feeling I get when I am being hypnotised or using self- hypnosis is my hands go pleasantly numb. I also get this same feeling when I meditate which is reassurance for me that I’m in a focused state.
The first time I was ever hypnotised was for smoking. I was worried that It had not worked as my mind felt pretty active all the way through and I wasn’t always listening to what the hypnotherapist was saying as my mind drifted off. But it worked! I just did not want to smoke anymore, and I had been trying to give up for years! I can relate this to meditation. When the mind is active it can feel like the mind is too chaotic to meditate properly, but continually having to keep bringing yourself back to the chosen focus is all part of the meditation and gives you the same benefits.
Everything we experience is through our mind. Our thoughts influence our perception and create either suffering or happiness. We can reframe our thoughts and change our story with yoga, meditation and hypnosis.
There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so – Shakespeare