Yoga Philosophy – Prakriti and Purusha

When we trace yoga back to the ancient texts, we have the ability and option to open ourselves to many explanations of the world and how we came to this place and understanding. One of those avenues of understanding is the difference between the Prakriti and Purusha.

For many of us, this is a very large concept to latch onto, and in Western society, where we are so often in GO mode, coming to a place of understanding asks us to participate in a lot of surrender. In order to be open to new viewpoints and philosophy, we have to let go of some of what we know to be true. Often times in this space we understand that there are more commonalities in what we are looking at than the first glance might give us.

In Yoga Prakriti and Purusha are how we divide our understanding of ourselves. Purusha is our unchanging true nature. It is our true self, that is unaffected by all that changes and moves in our day to day, and depending on the tradition or religion you follow (if one) our life to life. Purusha is that self that knows peace at all times, and that we are all connected and made of the same devine material.

Prakriti is the world we live in each and every day. Often described as the movie in which we are the actor. When we are caught up in playing a role, and defining ourselves by those limited definitions of who we are. In this view, things happen to us, and we react to those events. Our ability to remain at peace when we are at turmoil within this world can be challenging.

In yoga, we gently nudge students toward their connection with Purusha through classes with phrases such as:

  • Take a moment to recognize the unchanging you within.
  • The divine in me recognizes the divine in you.
  • Allow yourself, even for a moment to tap into your unending peace.
  • The universe is within you as you are within the universe.

These moments of connection are important to develop our witness self, one of the first steps to diving into the world of Purusha. We will walk more into this in the coming year 🙂