The Kleyshas

Causes of misery, personal obstacles Obstacles on path to expanded awareness.

Avidya = ignorance.  

Vidya = wisdom / clarity

The goal of yoga is to reduce the veil of Avidya and there are four 4 branches of avidya  which we can think of as clouding our perception. 

I use yoga and my understanding of the kleyshas to become aware of my patterns, to notice  where there is tension and fear in my life and to begin to reveal my dharma (or purpose).

Yes it all sounds epic but it doesn’t have to be. My understanding of the kleyahsa has brought more wisdom and clarity to my life.

Yoga teaches that  the deepest part of us is unchanging, content and eternal known as purusha or soul.

Asmita  (Ego)- identifying ourselves with ego and becoming trapped by our own projections. Ego is fine but over identifying with ego is not and stops us connecting with our soul.

Raga  (attraction) for things that bring satisfaction. Desire for pleasurable experiences and when we can’t get them we suffer and try and try and cling to them.

Often we may for instance think we may want a new pair of boots…. ‘If I just get the boots, the house, the relationship, the , the , the then I’ll be happy.

Dvesha. Aversion. Aversion to things that we don’t like .

The buddha teaches us to be content with pleasant and unpleasant, recognising and allowing what is – even if it’s uncomfortable.

Think of of raga and dvesha as push and pull of desire and aversion and that neither will give peace and clarity. Once we are aware , we can begin to really understand ourselves we can reflect and bring self awareness  and understanding to our patterns and behaviours.

Abhinivesha – fear of death. This has been HUGE for me. In our culture we’re not great at talking about or “being” with death, for a variety of reasons.

Abhinivesha rooted itself in me during my experience of cancer , I really struggled and experienced anxiety for the first time in my life. I reached out to my teachers , I read scriptures and books and began to navigate my way through. Of course I’m human being and it’s part of the human experience but the more I studied the Bhagavhad Gita and yoga philosophy the more peace I found. My peace came from meditation and remembering my true identity is oneness and spirit.

I now see my health crisis as a gift on the spiritual path. The most difficult situation that shakes your foundation and makes you question your purpose. This can show up as anything , a diagnosis, loss of a loved one, divorce etc. You’re neither your old self or new self but you look straight into your soul. It’s an opportunity disguised as loss, a chance to grow as a person and connect to awareness.

My Sadhana (spiritual practice ) has without a shadow of a doubt over time has meant less clouds and more clarity.

So with over a decade of study and practice I feel like I’m beginning to understand the Kleyshas

So how can we reduce Avidya ?

Tapas – the discipline of asana , pranayama etc

Swadyaya – self study and study of texts 

Ishvanipranidhana – surrender to God or the divine, the mystery.

Give our attention to the action NOT the fruits.

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