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Yoga, Mindfulness & Psychedelics: A Powerful Trio for Transformation

Yoga, Mindfulness & Psychedelics

The field of healthcare (both physical and mental) has witnessed a remarkable resurgence of interest in holistic approaches, particularly when it comes to integrating mindfulness, yoga, and psychedelics into more general practices of health and well-being.


These practices, rooted in ancient wisdom, have demonstrated profound potential in enhancing emotional regulation, maintaining psychological well-being, and even accelerating therapeutic progress. For these reasons, we have integrated these practices into our therapy retreat program.


It’s worth exploring the interplay between mindfulness, yoga, and psychedelic-assisted therapy, drawing from neuroscience and psychological research to explain the value of a holistic approach such as ours.


The Promise of Mindfulness & Meditation in Expanding Awarenss


Mindfulness is a practice perhaps best reflected in Buddhist philosophy.

It involves paying non-judgmental attention to the present moment.

Practicing mindfulness cultivates deeper awareness of our thoughts, emotions, and sensations as they arise, without attaching judgment or reactivity to them.


It allows us to learn to observe our experience and not simply react thoughtlessly to it.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that engaging in regular mindfulness practices can lead to improved emotional regulation and enhance general well-being. When we are able to adopt a stance of curious non-judgement to our thoughts and emotions, we are able to better understand their origin and function.


As such, we can learn to respond to them in different ways rather than engaging in our often automatic reactions.

For example, rather than simply acting aggressively when angry, we might observe the sensations of anger in our bodies, notice our thoughts, find the root cause in lack of control and then choose to behave differently.


We might slow our breathing and choose to disengage to regain control instead of shout or raise our voice, leading us to feel present and aware without any guilt about acting out. In this way, mindfulness fosters greater emotional resilience, reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression, and enhances overall psychological health.


These outcomes are achieved through structural changes in the brain, including increased gray matter density in regions associated with self-awareness and emotional regulation. Meditation becomes a daily practice for exercising this muscle of self-awareness, which is then used in moments such as described a moment ago.


Yoga as a Mindful Practice

Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice that originated in ancient India. It encompasses a wide range of techniques, including physical postures, breath control, meditation, and ethical principles.


Yoga (from the word yolk) aims to unite the mind, body, and spirit.

Yoga is a meditative practice that promotes self-awareness and self-acceptance. Beyond its psychological benefits, yoga supports physical well-being by enhancing flexibility, strength, and balance.


The mind-body connection cultivated in yoga can facilitate emotional healing and resilience, making it a valuable addition to holistic therapy programs such as ours at EQNMT. Daily yoga and meditation aids you in developing the curious, non-judgemental mindset required for a psychedelic journey while also offering tools that help you to tolerate discomfort (in physical postures) as well as learn to regulate your emotions through breathing exercises. 


Yoga can serve as a powerful analogue experience for a psychedelic journey.

We often like to say, on retreat, that yoga will teach your how to find physical sore spots just like a psychedelic experience helps you find the sources of emotional pain.

In both instances, however, there is value in steadying your breath and leaning into the experience to gain the insight and emotional release you seek.  


Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy & Mindfulness

Neuroscientific research has highlighted the interconnectedness of psychedelics and mindfulness practices. Studies using brain imaging techniques like fMRI have shown that mindfulness meditation and yoga can induce the same changes in brain structure and function that we experience in a psychedelic state. As such, engagement in these practices beforehand, ready the mind for a psychedelic journey and also help to consolidate the benefits after a psychedelic journey.


Research suggests that those who practice mindfulness (commonly yoga and meditation) before and after psychedelic sessions are more likely to experience greater ease in navigating challenging emotions, increased self-compassion, and more profound therapeutic insights.


Closing Remarks

The synergy between mindfulness, yoga, and psychedelic-assisted therapy is grounded in both evidence and ancient wisdom. These practices have the potential to enhance emotional regulation, mental well-being, and therapeutic outcomes. Incorporating mindfulness and yoga into a robust psychedelic therapy program creates a holistic framework that nurtures self-awareness, emotional resilience, and integration of the profound insights gained during psychedelic experiences.


As the worlds of neuroscience, psychology, and holistic therapy continue to converge, the value of this synergistic approach becomes increasingly evident. By harnessing the wisdom of ancient practices alongside cutting-edge therapeutic methods, individuals can embark on a transformative journey towards healing and self-discovery, long after the effects of a psychedelic experience have ended.


 

Contact us to find out whether psychedelic-assisted therapy is the right option for you.


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DISCLAIMER: This article was written for educational purposes only, and is not intended as advice. Psychedelic-assisted therapy is not helpful or indicated for everyone, and professional, trusted advice from a qualified healthcare professional should always be sought before entering into any new form of treatment. Similarly, we advocate for the safe, legal use of psychedelics in a therapeutic setting, guided and administered by qualified professionals.

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