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Melissa Richards  

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The Kleshas...

The Kleshas.

SO famous within those who study yogic philosophy.

As I am doing a second Teacher Training, I am also re-reading Patanjali's Yoga Sutras.

The Sutra's are an essential read for anyone trying to expand their knowledge in Yogic philosophy, and for every single spiritual teacher in training.

Patanjali is known as the father of yoga, and the sutra's (the threads of yoga) where written by him to show people the path to Samadhi (The quieting of the mind and absolute state of bliss.)

In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali talks about The Klesha's.

The Kleshas are known as the obstacles, the stains, poison, or causes of misery in life.

The Klesha’s lead us to disappointment, depression, frustration, etc.

They revolve around the ego,

and when everything revolves around the ego, we get misery.

It's a war between our expectations of the gross world, vs. our true nature, our true self.

The Klesha's are 5.

1. Avidya - mis-knowing your true nature. This mostly means having the wrong kind of knowledge, to know your truest self. This means defining yourself on things that aren’t real or permanent. If it’s not constant, it isn’t real. Therefore the only constant and real thing is your soul. Not the body or the physical matter, but only the soul.

2. Asmita - The Ego. We believe we must be defined by the world. To know who we are in the world is to “find ourselves.” But we are never gone or lost. We just grow up with the wrong information. You aren’t your job title. Or your fancy car. You aren’t how much money you have or where you live either. You aren’t any of the veils that are covering your soul.

3. Raga - attachment. Basic. I need this, or him or her. Or that. I can’t let go. “This person just makes me feel so good. I can’t live with out him/her.” “I must have my skinny dirty chai latte every day, or else.” It’s the desire for the feeling of this experience that we just refuse to let go and causes unhappiness.

4. Dvesha - Aversion/hate to things that we can’t change and that make us cringe. Like maybe... family gatherings. Or maybe picking up your dogs poop. Or also maybe going to work somewhere you hate. Or to make it simple. Things you just simply can’t change. You’re stuck with them.

Last one.

5. Abhinivesha - Fear. Or fear of death. Attachment to the body. Or fear of change. They all kind of sound similar because they are all in line with each other. We fear death because we fear change. We fear the monster because we don’t want the monster to kill us right? That’s basically what all scary movies are about. An ending. We fear not being here anymore. Because we think we are the body, but we aren’t.

and so whenever you're feeling down, or upset, or disappointed...

think about The Klesha's.

Ask yourself "Is this my true nature?"

The answer is inside you.

with love,


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Yoga is my therapy, movement is my medicine, peace is my goal.


I experienced the loss of my father right before my first year of college. 


I was leaving home, moving to NYC to pursue an education and a career in art. At the same time, I was experiencing the death of a parent. 


I was caught between two feelings.


What was once the excitement and ecstasy of taking on the biggest adventure of my life was suddenly replaced with trauma, loneliness, and fear.


I needed to shut the world off for a minute. It was all going too fast...


I decided to start taking yoga to find some stillness, some clarity, a moment of quiet before leaving to New York that summer.


I didn't understand much of it then other than the silence that it brought my mind lead to some healing in my heart. Little did I know this practice would change my entire life.


I want you to know that healing is possible. Its a journey.


I hope that through my sharing of personal experiences with these rituals and practices, you are able to heal those wounds, and become stronger.




I see you. I hear you. I'm with you.

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