Yoga Philosophy

Self vs. self

Through Yoga philosophy we learn the dualistic concept of purusha and prakriti or Self and self as guideposts towards finding balance, feeling connected and ultimately a state of enlightenment. Essentially, we must understand and know our self and through this process we will feel more connected to Self. Confused yet? Here’s the breakdown. Both are YOU, but also representing different aspects of you.

Prakriti or self is nature. It is all things changeable. What is born and dies, grows old and changes with time. Everything around us is part of prakriti. The seasons, the natural world, the weather, even our moods. The aspect of self that is part of prakriti is our physical body and our place in the natural world from child, to young adult, to older adult. At these different stages of life, we both want and need different things. When we are in balance with prakriti our emotions are stable, we are in tune with the natural ebb and flow of life and experience a general feeling of peace. When this comes together, and sometimes it may be fleeting we experience and feel connected to purusha or Self. At other times, we may feel that we are fighting against what is, in disharmony with others or our self and hold a general feeling of dis-ease leading to further feelings of anxiety or depression.

Purusha is the cosmic being or Self. It is unchangeable and continuous. It is the very light that exists within us. Some refer to it as the soul or spirit, energy or simply love. This is who we are on the inside, our true Self and what has always been. The purusha is not born nor does it die, it simply is and has always been. When we feel connected to Self, we feel connected to the whole world around us and everything in it. We feel compassion for those less fortunate or who have lost their way, we feel joy for those who are happy and in harmony with life. We are fully in the present moment and also experience a deep love and joy for our Self. It’s a beautiful space to be, so how can we get there?

There are many tools and practices from Yoga that will help us on this path: The Yamas and Niyamas, the Koshas, Ayurvedic practices, Chakra work or simply asana – getting on your mat and going through the poses. However, there is also something so simple that you can do every day: self-practice and meditation. In order to understand our self, we must know our self and the only way to do that is to spend time with our self. Like, really spend time with our self. To sit in quietness and observe. Observe our breath, observe the whispers running through our bodies, notice our emotions, notice our thoughts. Notice where we feel at peace and what may be troubling us and if we aren’t sure, spend more time observing, listening and simply being. Meditate. Breathe.

When we feel connected to Self we are in harmony with self, the universe and all things. We find a deep respect and love for our self that reflects out to the world. Our inner light shines forth. We are empowered, grateful and in-tune. This is our practice. The reason we step on to our mat each day. My hope is that this offers you a little inspiration to find your own practice, to discover the unity of self/Self in your way.

Namasté, meaning the light in me, honours that same light in you


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