them. Yet non-dualism is not in intrinsic part of Yoga Philosophy.
Yoga, Samkhya, and Dualism
Samkhya describes all reality as having two components: purusa, or consciousness, and prakriti, matter. Samkhya, being dualistic, states that these components are connected, but separate. In samkhya, as in yoga, the goal is not to dissolve all things into one whole. Instead, emphasis is placed on illuminating the individual parts, and clarifying their relationships. Relationship, as we shall see, is central to Yoga.
Purusa is consciousness: unchanging, formless, and watching. Purusa sees but remains forever unchanged by what it observes. Prakriti is the manifest world. This includes all matter, nature, and the human mind. Unlike purusa, prakriti is ever-changing.
According to samkhya, prakriti has three distinct qualities or rates of change, called gunas. First is rajas: intense, dynamic change.
purusa. In other words, the awareness and stability characteristic of purusa is most likely to be experienced by a sattvic mind.
A mind that is too agitated (rajasic), or too dull (tamasic) only experiences its own movement, and cannot know the consciousness at its core. Samkhya's conclusion, then, is: "In order to know the deepest truth, to be stable and happy, a sattvic mind is required."
Patanjali's Yoga Sutras is in simple terms a guidebook for cultivating a sattvic mind. The great sage compiled the sutras approximately 2,300 years ago. Little more is known about this man, except that he also composed foundational works on Ayurveda and Sanskrit Grammar.
The Yoga Sutras are 195 aphorisms, succinct teachings on life, suffering, and the nature of the mind. The first psychology text, the Sutras resemble lecture notes more than completed lessons, and have many possible fering, sickness and sorrow are true realities, which can only be replaced by other realities, preferably, comfort, wellness, and joy.
The Sutras explore many aspects of living, including: relationships, lifestyle, body, breath, the senses, and mind. The aim is to achieve wholeness by refining the individual parts and clarifying their relationships. Since, according to Yoga, they are all interconnected, refinement in one area will create improvement in the others. Therefore, using slow deep breathing to move the body into stable, comfortable postures helps to focus the mind and brighten the emotions.
This brings us full circle, to just how good you feel right now with your warm chai after your favorite yoga class. Go ahead, have another sip. Enjoy.
In subsequent articles, we will explore Patanjali's Sutras, yoga's source text, in detail. We will look at Yogas view of life, the mind, practice, discipline, healing and transformation.
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