Monday, November 15, 2010

Yoga 101 - Kleshas illustrated

Hello dear readers, today we are going to review the kleshas with a couple of real-life examples directly based on my own experience.
For non-yogis / -yoginis, the kleshas are afflictions of the mind, they cause an agitated mind and in yoga, quiet mind = good, agitated mind = bad.
But let's take a closer look, shall we?

The 5 kleshas

  • The first klesha is avidya, or ignorance. Example: "oh, I didn't know I could do that. Well for someone that takes pride in knowing herself, that's not very good is it? Hold on a sec... I know myself from 15 years ago, isn't it time to move on and check out who is "myself" today? And let go of the perception that others have of me? Yes, let's do that".
  • The second klesha is asmita, or ego, as in "I am". Example: "I can't get into pincha mayurasana, I am not good enough (to be training as a yoga teacher, to be on this course, etc etc)". (Beating yourself up then because you think you're not good enough, thus making things worse, is a nice one too: "I shouldn't think that I'm not good enough, therefore I'm not good enough")
  • I'll take a detour before getting to the third one by illustrating the fourth one (you'll see my point), dvesha, or aversion. Example: "that girl is STEPPING ON MY MAT, I mean, excuse me?!?! Argh, I HATE that!"
  • And so here is the third one, raga, or attachment. Example: "Bloody hell this mat is my private space, my sacred space, MY PRECIOUS *gollum cough gollum*". (see why the third before the fourth now?)
  • The fifth and last one is abhinivesha, or fear. Example: "Holy Shiva, this taxi driver is driving way too fast, he's going to KILL ME! Oh dear that was close. Ok breathe, this is your fear of dying manifesting here, and typically you can't control the way you're going to die, so if that's your way to go then so be it. Ahh, feels better now. And if we make it home, I'll tip him for making me reflect on abhinivesha and breaking a record, Brussels station to home in less than 10 minutes is quite impressive, even on a late Sunday evening". I think I got that one covered (and that's how you can tell I spent a weekend totally immersed in yoga, I guess my thinking otherwise would have stopped at "KILL ME!").
Disclaimer: I didn't use the proper Sanskrit spelling, but my computer doesn't want to cooperate with me and put the dots and accents where they should be. 

I'm curious peeps, what is your take on kleshas? :)

Edited to add: for those of you who are wondering "OMG did she tip the taxi driver? What a cliffhanger, I'm biting my nails now!" - well obviously I made it in one piece, and the experience's given me writing material. I guess I should've given him more...


  1. The funny thing is my blog this week will be about the kleshas. I like what you've written and am grateful for having read it while I'm still in my notes stage.

    Personally I'd like to hear more klesha talk.

    Om prem & shanti my Friend!

  2. 2, 3, 4 = busted! :P But I'm working on it. Also, glad you closed this one out with the details. I was totally fingernail biting! xoxox

  3. Hey ladies! (imagine me saying it Beastie Boys style)
    Thanks for your comments, Meredith need I repeat your post is fantastic? Me likey kleshas (am I attached to the kleshas? oh the irony!)
    Yisforyogini: believe it or not, I was writing this with you in mind, I remember your post with The Mat thing ;)