Grappling with Yoga Philosophy

1) Introduction

Most people who practice any of the limbs of yoga like asanas, meditation and pranayama (breathing) do so for the health benefits - both physical and mental. A small portion of these practitioners become interested in the philosophical aspects of yoga like prana (life force), karma, samskaras (latent impressions) , the concept of purusha and prakriti etc. In this small group of practitioners who are interested in the philosophical aspects of yoga, there is a small sub-group of people for whom the aforementioned concepts of yoga are but a logical extension of life and the thought process, and hence make perfect sense. They seamlessly structure their life around these concepts and try to live by these principles to the best of their abilities. The rest of the practitioners find themselves grappling with these concepts, which cannot be proven by science, are unclear about the core message and find themselves swinging between a gut feeling of belief and a logical feeling of disbelief.