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Transference, by Hannah Hilton

Through my years of practicing yoga in a studio, I have been witness to the phenomenon of transference. Transference is the redirection of feelings one has (say the student) for a significant person that are redirected to another (say the yoga teacher). Sigmund Freud developed this theory when he noticed his patients were developing feelings for their doctor, although they were redirected feelings, he acknowledged that this phenomenon was very important in understanding patients feelings in psychoanalysis.

Transference does not only have to be considered important for psychoanalytical practices, it is also important in the practice of yoga. Transference often occurs because an endless amount of emotions are being brought to the surface. In yoga imagine with each breath, each asana, each savasana, each back bend, each chant- think of all of the emotions that arise within your soul. Yoga is a therapeutic practice. These emotions arise and the teacher is often a vehicle that has helped bring you to this destination in your journey. Therefore, a connection is made with your teacher. A pure connection of truth and love.

The gift of transference is a way for us to let go of all that holds us back. Through this we can find the tools to sort through our subconscious and find a way to overcome what has been the block on the path of our journey. As a student of psychology (a BS and MA in psychology), I have always known my path is to help others find themselves and love themselves. After years of school, I found in a yoga class one day that my path was still to help people find themselves, but through the art of yoga and not counseling. Silly me, yoga is both. Through a practice in studio with wonderful teachers and students, I discovered that every class is counseling session.

There is an abundance of yoga teachers in the community, each with a different direction, different approach, different tools, but in the end they all have the same ending destination- peace, self-understanding, and love. The connection that we make with our teacher is an important connection for us as the student and for the teacher. Both are on a journey and both need each other’s encouragement, nurturing, feedback, and guidance to get to that destination we all desire.

To me yoga is a two-part practice: the art of finding myself solo and the art of finding myself within a sea of like-minded individuals. There are days when you just need to practice alone in the comfort of your home or outside enjoying all the Mother has to provide you. Then there are days when you need that connection with others to help guide you to places you were unaware of yourself going. A teacher and a community provide this.

I highly encourage everyone interested in yoga to take a class in a studio. Find a teacher that your soul reaches for. Understand that some form of transference may occur, and that is ok. They are here to help you let go. We all are. Those feelings of love are normal and encouraged. For love is what makes this world go round in a graceful groove.

“Loving one another
is the only thing real.” -Trevor Hall.

 Hannah HiltonHannah Hilton is just a woman on a journey—with love in her eyes and flowers in her hair. She is melodically mellow minded with the creative curiosity of a young child. A little yin and a little yang, a nelipot who loves Mother Nature, yoga, live music, good friends, good conversation, good food, art, and a lover of laughter! Follow Hannah’s journey here or connect with her on Facebook.


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