Remember last week? How I mentioned that it was so intense? It is not better, yet. It took me until Saturday to begin to process the stress that had mounted during all the preceding time. It’s quicker than it used to be for me. I used to force myself to martyr myself to whatever suffering I encountered. There is a voice in my head that still believes that, but thanks to this long, consistent practice of Yoga, I don’t have the stomach for it anymore. I have seen how the cause and effect system works there. I recognize that I do not have the energy to manage the current real-life mess as well as the one I self-created. This is progress. Here is the Instagram post where I go into more detail.
This brings us to the conversation of Purva Rupa. It is a term used in Āyurveda meaning, “prodromal symptoms” – ie. the symptoms that manifest before the actual named condition blossoms. Purva means “before,” and Rupa means “what is seen.”
Nothing is born out of thin air. As Dr. Mohan suggests above, any condition – mental or physical – requires a process of creation. This is formed by repetitive behaviors and choices which unite to cement the trajectory of what becomes the Purva Rupa and then finally the Rupa. (The Rupa being the actual symptoms of a named disease condition.)
How Can Yoga and Āyurveda Work Together?
Yoga, from the Raja Yoga perspective of Patañjali, is defined as “citta vṛtti nirodhaḥ,” (Y.S.1.2). Yoga is the cessation of the consistent and repetitive actions of all the mental faculties. Before we can stop these behaviors, we need to recognize what they are. This means we need to develop the capacity to watch ourselves doing things – to separate ourselves from the doing – name them, the signs of their formation (purva rupa), as well as signs of their presence (rupa), and then commit to change. There are many steps and we must be precise with each of them.
This is also one of the topics of discussion in the Srimad Bhavagad Gita. Kṛṣṇa asks Arjuna to separate himself from the fruits of his action and just commit to the task at hand, with perfection.
To practice Yoga, we must know ourselves and get to know ourselves. This is a continuous process because as Kṛṣṇa also says, “there is no life without action.” We will always be creating new repetitive behaviors because the environment around us will always change and we will always be searching for homeostasis. Thus, it is important to know our biggest signs of trouble as well as the little ones that develop along the way.
How this relates to Yoga and Yogāsana, is that the way we instruct and/or interpret instructions need to allow room for us to first perceive and then respond to any budding purva rupa.
My Āyurvedic teacher says that anything done here in the Material world requires augmentation. Because there are so many factors that cause imbalance, they all require some personalized spice.
Āyurveda offers incredible tools to help us develop our internal gaze and ensure that the way we are practicing Yoga is not just a disguised citta vṛtti.