Unveiling the Kleshas: The 5 Afflictions

“The entire range of sorrow – from disease to a crippling sense of powerlessness – originates in the kleshas.”
Quote from The Practice of the Yoga Sutra: Sadhana Pada by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, PhD

fall trees and a path
A Fall Path in Baraboo, WI

There are obstacles on the path to freedom. In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali says there are 5 afflictions that are the main source of our sorrow. These afflictions live in the mind and, if left unchecked, can wreak havoc in the body and in our relationships. These patterns of thought can be shifted, and our first step is bringing awareness to them. You may have experienced these as negative looping thoughts, or self-diminishing patterns that get in the way of a broader perspective. This afflictions may also show up as conflict with another person. You may not know why you feel stuck or at odds. Discovering these afflictions, and antidote practices, can help point the way out. Tap into living with more ease, and learn to observe and shift these patterns of the mind.  

The 5 Afflictions; the fundamental source of suffering from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras

  • Avidya Ignorance = We forget we are connected. Wrong knowledge. All afflictions stem from this first affliction. 
  • Asmita: False Sense of Self-Identity = I-am-ness, false identification with the small (ego) self. We believe we are just our small self/minds/problems, etc.
  • Raga: Attachment = Overwhelming attraction to pleasure, likes, attachment to what supports my ego. 
  • Dvesha: Aversion = Compelling dislike, repulsion to pain or anything we don’t consider a pleasure, aversion to that which does not support my image of my ego. 
  • Abhinivesha: Fear of Death = fear of change, continuity obsession, clinging to the way you know it even if it does not serve. 

Don’t be consumed by these afflictions. Overcoming these destructive mental patterns starts with awareness. You’ve already taken that step by reading this. Now, begin to practice observing when these patterns of mind show up. Look to see what may be causing undue pain or unnecessary sorrow. The practice of observing the mind is a process that happens over time, and engaging consistently with mindful practices like meditation and yoga can help lift the veil. 

First, you must dedicate time to practice!

Join us for What if I Fall Satsang, a 5-week program to address patterns of the mind + body that you wish to resolve, so that we can all get to more easeful states of living and being together. 

Register for the 5-week yoga intenstive here www.satsangyogatherapyonline.org/offerings 

This program includes: 

  • Weekly Mind Study: Explore the Kleshas + antidote practices from yogic wisdom
  • Weekly Body Practice: Membership to unlimited online classes included.
  • Small Group Satsang: Join a community ready to transform this season

This Fall season, take a closer look at what’s to change and what’s here to stay. There are self-regulating and awareness building tools for you to discover! Explore yourself in a compassionate and supportive community.

Written by Alison (Ali) Zuba, E-RYT, Yoga Therapist, MBA

Ali Zuba is an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher and Yoga Therapist. She studied at the International SomaYoga Institute at Yoga North in Duluth, MN with Molly McManus & Ann Maxwell. She engages with the teachings of Hatha Yoga, Ayurveda, and Somatics centered on whole-being wellbeing. SomaYoga is a mind-body inquiry process that offers therapeutic results on the various physical + energetic + emotional + mental + spiritual layers of our being.

A Madison, WI native, Ali started her Yoga studies with 21st Century Yoga on the Mat at The Studio with Alex Pfeiffer. She realized there that Yoga practice is much more than physical postures. It involves working together with compassionate self-discipline, introspective study, and trust in the whole process. She believes that daily connection practices, on and off the mat, allow us to feel into and manage self-regulating energies. She also has an MBA from Univerisity of Wisconsin – Madison.

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