Yoga and Transactional Analysis (TA)

Yoga includes a theory and practice of health and psychology developed in the ancient Indian tradition. Transactional analysis (TA) as a psychotherapeutic approach is a scientific method designed by Eric Berne in the '60s already and is still developing in the Western tradition. TA helps people understand the causes of their emotional problems and learn the ways to overcome them so that they can live their liberated lives to the fullest, being a means of enabling an individual to evolve into an integrated person. Both Yoga and TA can be seen as approaches including very similar goals and complementary methods. However, a difference between Yoga and TA can be found in their directions of movement. In yoga, the direction of movement is inward, toward spiritual growth and development, while in TA, it is outward, toward the development of spontaneity, awareness, and intimacy, which results in personality autonomy. In this section, I want to deal with the common grounds of Yoga and TA, which together cause a person to develop their life and consciousness NOW and HERE.

In TA, being an autonomous person is the key, and this is achieved through awareness (our ability to be alive in all the senses and stimuli inside and around ourselves, in our inner and outer environments or realities), spontaneity (our conscious reaction to respond to a stimulus coming from all the three ego-states of Parent, Adult, and Child) and intimacy (unconditional acceptance of ourselves, others and the situations in which we find ourselves, and only if it arises out of love for ourselves and other people). Eric Berne said that all human beings are born as princes and princesses so that they deserve respect and dignity. According to him, the physis is a life instinct that stems from the deepest biological roots of a human being and strives for the greatest and most complete realization of the ideal of good. Such a person, who is conscious, aware, healthy, integrated, and evolved, is in absolute agreement with the model of a self-realized person depicted in the Bhagavad Gita (Saru, 2017), part of the Mahabharata, a major Hindu epic poem, which means "song of the blessed one."

TA and the philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita equally emphasize the importance of the authentic inner impulse of a human being which directs him towards psychophysical health and spiritual growth. This text was written in the form of a dialogue between the prince and the hero Arjuna and the Hindu god Krishna (Fraser, 2002), seen by Saru (2017) as a long psychotherapeutic session in which Krishna activates Arjuna’s Adult ego-state, helping the prince rise above his ego-state of a confused Child. When we look closely at this process, we can recognize the TA interventions of decontamination of the Adult ego-state and deconfusion of the Child ego-state when Krishna acts from the position of an empathetic interlocutor/therapist. At the same time, Krishna is the model of a self-realized soul, which represents the ultimate goal of spiritual development and establishing contact with one's divine nature – attaining one's self (Atman).
Anita Marković