By Jennie Williford
Pranayama Yoga Studio
Spring is right around the corner, and we are restless … antsy for change, and caught up in the mental agony of wishing for something that is not yet a reality.
Yoga recognizes this very condition as not just a seasonal issue, but the actual human condition. Many of us live with a winter frost of mental afflictions covering our inner seeds of true potential. We have forgotten that we are all filled with a wellspring of energy and light just waiting to be uncovered. We are in need of spring, but more so from the inside out, and it is the practice of yoga that can help us bloom.
Through the practice of yoga, we learn to quiet the disturbances and reduce the frosty afflictions of the mind. When mental fluctuations are diminished through disciplined practice and awareness, we come to see more clearly the pure potential of the inner self. No matter what any season brings in a year or in a life, yoga gives us the tools to tap into this inner strength, to find the ability to flourish even in the harshest of conditions.
A major step in melting our mental frost is to understand its elements. According to yoga, our mind is disturbed by any combination of five major afflictions, called kleshas: Avidya, Asmita, Raga, Dvesa and Abhinivesa.
Avidya, spiritual ignorance, is the fact that we have forgotten about our inner self and our inner potential. This forgetting is at the root of all other afflictions. Instead of connecting to our stable, unchangeable center, we have become attached to impermanent things, subjected to and disturbed by all the changeability of nature. Raga and Dvesa then form from our attachment to all of these impermanent things. Raga is the desire for only positive and pleasurable things, and Dvesa is aversion to the negative. We expend a lot of energy getting caught up in the changing tides of the world and of the seasons, wanting what we don’t have or trying to escape the inevitable. Abhinivesa is then the ultimate manifestation of Raga and Dvesa. We attach to our impermanent, ever-changing body, and then fear the surety of death.
The practices of yoga make us aware of the presence of these five afflictions on every level of our being, but then ultimately help us to melt away their frost. Slowly, we learn to discriminate between and have knowledge of what is permanent and impermanent, what we are able to control, and what we must allow to come and go. Identifying more and more with the stable inner self, we can watch seasons change and life pass through all of its ups and downs with a little more balance and a lot less agitation.
Once the frost of affliction melts from our mind, our inner seeds are nourished by the light of awareness. Yoga practice enables us to grow stronger roots, and ultimately, bloom into our best self, no matter what the season. So, don’t waste your winter just wishing for the coming spring. Spring into yoga right now, and find the light and color that has been waiting for you all along.
For more information about Pranayama Yoga Studio, visit www.yogarockford.com or call (815) 968-9642.
From the Feb. 26-March 4, 2014 issue