There are numerous obstacles which can inhibit your ability to achieve Yoga. Some of these may affect your body on a physical level. However, more often than not it is the mental obstacles which cause problems. These mental obstacles are known in yoga as the Kleshas. The Kleshas are five different mental filters which can obscure your perception, therefore impacting on your ability to respond to an event in an appropriate manner.
The five Kelshas are:
1. Avidya - Ignorance or rather incorrect knowledge. Often Avidya is accumulated through a person’s cultural conditioning. Avidya is present when we make assumptions and decisions based on untrue knowledge.
2. Asmita - Ego or I-am-ness. This occurs when people see themselves as distinct individuals who must be competitive rather than act as a collective group. Common thoughts influenced by Asmita include, “I know I am right,” or “I am better than that person.”
3. Raga - Attachment. Raga presents itself when people are attached to particular stories about themselves or are attached to the idea they must acquire certain material things in order to achieve happiness.
4. Dvesa - Avoidance. Dvesa is present when someone has a bad experience and are afraid of repeating it again so they avoid the situation, place or people in which that experience occurred in.
5. Abinivesa - Fear. This can be described as doubts, uncertainty and or avoidance and occurs on many levels of human functioning. Abhinvesa can cause a person to either act or not act out of fear.
Despite the power of the Kleshas there are ways to limit their effect on your perceptions. Firstly, identify and acknowledge a Klesha when it comes into your mind. This process of reflection encourages self awareness, self understanding and self knowledge. You begin to discover why you developed particular Kleshas and how they are creating suffering in your life today. Self awareness is best developed through your yoga practice which should consist of both an asana and meditation.