Hypnotherapy, yoga and meditation, what’s the difference?

by Alice Penion

An idea that takes root in the subconscious mind has no capacity for reasoning and MUST be discharged in motor action – whether a good or a bad idea. Essentially every single word uttered to a subject in a hypnotic state such as those experienced in any meditative or relaxation yoga practices may result in uptake of post hypnotic suggestion and thus influence that individual’s actions. Therefore it’s of utmost importance that everything said or thought during any yogic practice should not only be thought out thoroughly beforehand but tailored to be only positive and beneficial.

To highlight the importance of the correct use of wordings in suggestion I’ll use an example not only from clinical hypnosis but self imposed diets restrictions we’ve mostly all tried at some point. If you relax/hypnotise (same thing) somebody and tell them (or yourself) “Don’t eat cake” the subconscious mind will without doubt invert the “suggestion” and that person will want to eat more cake than they’ve ever thought possible – and seemingly can’t get the thought of cake etc from their mind!

Instead however, if you use the suggestion “you are amazed at how unbelievably easy it is for you to choose the foods that will help you become and remain slim and healthy” the subconscious, being the simple thing it is, will consume the suggestion, internally digest (so to speak) and turn it into the desired response i.e. no desire to eat cake or other junk food – just good healthy stuff in the right amount etc.

In other words it’s important to think about what you want and not what you don’t want.

So what exactly is hypnosis?

First of all it’s important to highlight that there is no such thing as a “special” state of hypnosis. It’s a very ordinary phenomenon that we pass in and out of several times every day. That blurry place between sleep and awake and any time in fact you are engrossed in an activity such as work, a hobby, long distance driving and of course Hatha yoga, meditation and relaxation practices – where external stimuli are mostly blocked out. A hypnotic “state” is just a feeling of being relaxed coupled with a heightened state of awareness all of which is brought about by suggestion or autosuggestion. In fact it’s often said there is no such thing as hypnosis – only suggestion.

So what’s the difference between hypnosis and meditation?

One definition of meditation is the absence of all thought and to just be. If a person is mulling over a problem during meditation, they are actually thinking and therefore no longer meditating in its truest sense.

Hypnosis on the other hand, is to have a specific thought and affect a desired outcome, i.e. stop smoking, lose weight, stress management, pain management etc. In hypnosis just as in guided meditation the hypnotist may take you down a path, but instead of just suggesting a stroll through beautiful scenery the hypnotist skilfully uses suggestion to achieve predetermined goals – reduce exam test nerves, stop nail biting, develop confidence etc.

So as you can see if someone is participating in a guided meditation, the guide is also suggesting everyone to see this, hear that and experience with as many senses as possible. Some people may smell the flowers, feel the breeze, even hear sounds in this internal picture whilst usually also deepening relaxation and lowering anxiety levels albeit short term. Clearly this is no different in concept from the hypnotists scripting bar the actual suggestions themselves and resultant behavioural change.

So, hypnosis is just another word for relaxation. It’s what you do or think about when you are in this state of relaxation that differentiates between meditation, hypnotherapy, day dreaming etc.

Both are an allowing process. No one can force you into hypnosis. Otherwise hypnotists would already rule the world by simply obtaining your bank account number for their financial benefit and have you run around like a chicken for their entertainment!

Similarly in guided meditation, no one can make you go down the paths and smell the flowers if you don’t want to.

Suggestions given in the hypnotic state that are against your personal code of conduct, morality etc will not be taken on board by the subconscious and thus will not be acted out. It’s an all too common misconception that hypnotists can “control” your mind. If only! Then my job as a hypnotherapist would be far far easier! Sadly it’s a common misconception, thanks to stage hypnotists, Kenny Craig and other TV misrepresentations of hypnosis. Stage hypnotists incidentally are just very adept at selecting the more outrageous wannabes from an audience whose very personality type is such that they are looking for any opportunity to be the star of the show, however “silly” they may be made to look. They do volunteer after all, don’t they?!

Both hypnosis and meditation can be used for the better good of the individual. You may quite simply need to decide which word sits more comfortably with you. If meditation is a more palatable word for you, then by all means meditate! However, if you need more guidance or the mere mention of the word meditation brings up thoughts of rigid discipline that sends you screaming into the night, then by all means go find a well qualified hypnotherapist.

Emotional release in yoga, massage, meditation and relaxation…

So what with the common experience of emotional release in yoga classes?

You may have experienced or seen people crying their heart out or experienced sudden deep feelings of sadness for example during yoga and meditation, or just as commonly on the treatment table during massage. Well essentially these situations all induce the relaxed and therefore natural hypnotic state which allows bubbles of emotion to break the surface. It’s a bit like with a fizzy drink you shake it a bit and the bubbles come up and pop as emotion and tears, but each and every time you shake that drink in the state of hypnosis those bubbles will be unstoppable. If you’ve experienced this it demonstrates just how close to the surface those emotions are within you. No doubt it’s usually a very conscious and exhausting effort for you to ordinarily keep all those bubbles held in the rest of the time. It isn’t just these specific activities where emotions bubble up but rather ANY time one is otherwise a little “relaxed”. There are many of us who just can’t stop, can’t get to sleep, can’t unwind, for if we let it go enough the jumping monkeys of the mind break out of their cage to wreak havoc in our otherwise ordered lives.

Really these experiences are a huge wake up call to go get help in the form of Pure Hypnoanalysis to excise those deeply rooted anxieties and free yourself from your problems for good. If you are a meditator (or in this case someone trying to meditate), or practice yoga but find your experience is more distressing than relaxing then you must also stop using mind wander meditation techniques that allow brooding and rumination upon your problems. For certain personality types this will actually increase your anxiety levels (in Ayurveda they’re known as Pitta types or anally obsessive in psychology speak).

It’s all about reading the signs.

In Pure Hypnoanalysis we go a hugely important stage further than meditation’s observing and experiencing feelings. We ask WHY there’s this blockage and leakage of emotions in the first place. Pure Hypnoanalysis offers a natural, gentle but effective way of stepping deeper into the psyche/subconscious to release the true root cause of the problem stemming from ones deepest bottled up emotions.

As long as these source emotions are bottled up, they will have effects in the form of anything from life disrupting phobias, fears, panicky feelings and bad habits to physical symptoms, negative behavioural patterns etc that are all seemingly within oneself but out of ones control. More on this below…

Here, even the most dedicated of yogi’s “wanting” to practice their Sadhana (dedicated spiritual exertions towards achieving enlightenment) will not be able to escape Emile Coue’s “Law of reversed effort” where the force of the Imagination is in direct ratio to the square of the Will.

Essentially where there is conflict between the Imagination and the Will, the Imagination wins hands down every time – so the more effort the Will puts in to oppose or command the Imagination the more the Will’s efforts are reversed and the exact opposite is compounded. So the more you sit and think “I am going to blank my mind, think of nothing and meditate” the more thoughts will flood in by the truck load! A lot has to be said for surrendering to the observing Ego state and detaching from the thoughts themselves via the reliable vehicle of self or induced hypnosis. Entering that very natural state of hypnosis by-passes the critical factor of the conscious mind, thus effecting negation of our daily distracting thought stream. This is the very basis of mindfulness meditation, chanting and other “one pointed focus” practices.

These are practices that quite literally bore the practitioner into a hypnotic/meditative state.

This law of reversed effort is also the explanation behind the phenomena of subjects in hypnosis/relaxation experiencing suggested physiological effects such as heavy or light limbs, heavy eyelids etc. Most Yoga Nidra practices (usually after deepening, internalising and body scan) utilise the reverse law with suggestions of developing first one sensation such as heat and then the opposite ice cold, pain/pleasure, heaviness/lightness etc.

Yoga Nidra and other ancient practices have been using the natural state of hypnosis therapeutically for thousands of years. Hypnosis in itself is not a particularly useful thing. It’s only when it’s coupled with positive suggestion that it becomes useful and therefore therapeutic. In Yoga Nidra this suggestion is your Sankalpa or a short positive affirmation or statement of intent. If you can’t think of one yourself then you can’t really go wrong with our man Emile Coue’s classic cover all for everyone…
”Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better and better”.

Pure Hypnoanalysis lays the path towards true peace of mind.

The other form of hypnotherapy known as Pure Hypnoanalysis works very differently from suggestion therapy. Instead of putting suggestions into the mind as with clinical hypnotherapy, seemingly conversely it removes the source of ones problems from the mind – permanently, safely and effectively. Its amazing results are most commonly life changing for those individuals with deep rooted anxiety related problems. So not only for the aforementioned yogi’s experiencing emotional uprisings but also anyone suffering from any of a plethora of anxiety symptoms. Those yogi’s outbursts will be without a shred of a doubt just the tip of the symptomatic iceberg of their emotional problems and those rising emotional bubbles are simply a call to action to address a deeper rooted problem that needs to be released with the assistance of a professional Pure Hypnoanalyst (located here:)


Pure Hypnoanalysis simply is THE most effective therapy available for the total resolution of anxiety, depression, phobias, fears, negative behavioural patterns, panic attacks and other psychological and emotional problems. Pure Hypnoanalysis is a powerful, specialised and highly developed form of analytical hypnotherapy that achieves amazing results by totally resolving the root cause of unconscious anxieties. This total resolution leads to life long liberation from symptoms – not just short term relief from the worst of the eruptions of that bottled up anxiety but complete and therefore life changing relief from the emotional baggage that has been lugged around for most of the sufferers life.

In fact as an insight into oneself Pure Hypnoanalysis has no rival.

If you are on a search for deeper Self Knowledge as most folk (let alone Yogi’s) are to some level or other, then you would do well to surrender yourself to the process of analysis. It doesn’t take years, or a great intellect but quite simply 8-12 weekly sessions of about an hour long each.

Pure Hypnoanalysis utilises this powerful natural phenomenon of hypnosis to allow the individual to swiftly and naturally locate the reasons they’re stuck in certain thought patterns, behaviours, reactions, or beliefs about themselves. Once the problem is found and cathartically “let go” the mind is then permanently freed from those troublesome paths of thought or unconscious forces that surround the thing that is inside yourself but out of your control and can once again realise its normal, natural, efficient and healthy quality of functioning.

Often people who come to Pure Hypnoanalysts have tried to deal with or manage their anxieties using many other coping mechanisms such as NLP, EFT, alcohol, drugs, counselling and other talking therapies to varying degrees of success. But they typically find that although they feel better for a while their problems return, or crop up in some other area of their life to trouble them further.

Even Yogic practices can be classed as coping mechanisms. I’m sure those of us who’ve been to a half decent yoga session have enjoyed the great feelings after class but they do wear off after a while and even with regular practice may not contain those persistent leaking emotions – in fact if not an engaging practice it may bring them on all the more in certain personality types. Yoga and the above mentioned coping mechanisms can calm frazzled nerves or anxiety for the short term and they certainly do have their place in the world but will never alone go deep enough to RESOLVE the deepest issues at their root source which is where your IAPH Hypnotherapist comes in.

The beauty of Pure Hypnoanalysis is reflected so tidily by Yoga’s twin sister Ayurevda (the ancient Indian health system), where the underlying principle is to tailor practices in order to achieve total alleviation of symptoms by dealing with problems from their root source as opposed to the temporary sticking plaster of continual symptom management. A salve is one thing one thing but complete relief from symptoms is the ideal that can be achieved with this amazing and unique therapy.

Enhance your meditation and whole life with hypnotherapy

Hypnosis is a wonderful, powerful tool to amongst other things locate the reasons why you’re stuck believing certain things about yourself. Once you find the source of the problem, you can let it go fully. Once you let it go, your mind is emptied from old negative qualities of thinking. Once you’ve done that your mind is clear and you can finally move into a quiet state of peace and meditation and connect with your True Self.

This is proven time and time again at the culmination of Pure Hypnoanalysis where the subconscious is finally free and untroubled by anxiety. The mind is just incredibly quiet, at peace and able to rest in a truly meditative state.

Author’s details:

Alice Pinion BSc (Hon’s) DHyp MIAPH, IAYT is an IAPH therapist holding clinic in Cambridge, Hertfordshire and Essex


Alice is also a published author and internationally respected Yoga Teacher and Ayurvedic Yoga Therapist.

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