C.G. Jung Letters, Vol. 1: 1906-1950

To J. A. Howard Ogdon

Dear Mr. Ogdon, 15 April 1948

Although I haven’t yet finished reading your interesting book, I don’t want to postpone the expression of my gratitude.

I can say that I have already learned quite a number of things from it.

I’m slowly ploughing along, taking it in gradually.

Although it is by no means the only autobiography of a cured psychosis, yours is unique owing to your psychological and general education.

This enables you to formulate and express in suitable terms what other former patients failed to formulate.

Concerning your view about Hatha-Yoga I can confirm your ideas entirely.

Yoga as well as other “mystical” practices imitate nature and that explains their efficacy.

Yoga postures are imitations of catatonic gestures, postures and mannerisms.

One could say that the classical catatonic condition is a fixed or congealed Yoga mechanism, i.e., a natural tendency released under pathological circumstances.

This is to be interpreted as a teleological attempt at self-cure, as it is a compensatory process produced under the stress of the schizophrenic dissociation of the mind.

The dissociation leads to a sort of chaotic disrupture of the mental order and the catatonic tendency tries to bring about an order, however pathological, creating fixed positions
over against the relentless flow of associations.

The prana discipline has practically the same effect.

It concentrates the psychic energy upon the inner ways in which the prana flows.

The localization in the brain is doubtful, but in general it is correct to assume that the unconscious processes are chiefly located in the lower centres of the brain from the thalamus downwards.

Thank you again for the kind gift of your book,

Yours sincerely,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 497-498.

Note: Prana = vital wind, life breath, equivalent of the Greek pneuma; the discipline consists of exercises in breath control.