As I decided on this week's theme for our Charity Pop Up classes, it became a self-fulfilling prophesy, in causing me Angst! Yogis amongst you will know of the Kleshas, the 5 elements of personality that cause us all Dukha = to suffer. For those who don't know them they are;
1. Avidya = Misconception, which stops us seeing clearly
2. Asmita = Ego, which causes us to make wrong judgements.
3. Raga = Desires and habitual patterns of self indulgence.
4. Dvesha = Avoidance of or aversion to those or that which you dislike.
5. Abhinivesha = Irrational Fear of the unknown and ultimately of death.......
I know.... heavy stuff! As I've said before, I am not a philosopher and even if I was, I could read up on this subject for years without completely understanding the profound thoughts behind it. Why would I therefore try to impart my minuscule knowledge of the first of these Kleshas in a 30 minute class on a Monday morning? Well, it could be the Kleshas' 'Asmita' acting, i.e. my Ego, but I don't think so. However, numbers 2 to 5 above all work with number 1 to stop you knowing what is real, so a bit of a conundrum there! To work this out I used Yoga (what else?), by focussing on my Breath, to slow everything down, quieten the 'chattering monkeys' giving their opinions and clear the path of reasoning. Having found the real reason I want to do it is actually to give the class a chance to know the background to their Yoga too, I then started suffering from numbers 4 and 5! I found myself trying to make excuses to avoid it as it's a bit scary being in the teaching seat. Using my Yogic Breath once more got me over the stage fright!
I began by putting this question to everyone, " Which glasses are you wearing today ? The pair that is completely clear or the steamed up version that cloud your focus, your judgements and your behaviour?" We then used our Yoga practice to clean the glasses, clearing paths physically, opening channels and giving us space mentally and emotionally.
By now, you may have flicked ahead and are wondering what the New Zealand rugby player has to do with it all? Well, we finished with 'Lion' pose, which he demonstrates perfectly here in the Haka! Try it and see if your Ego comes into play because it feels a little silly..... At its most obvious it is a facial expression that exercises our facial muscles and eyes or a symbol of physical power if you're a NZ rugby player, but unless you are the latter its not an easy thing to do with people watching. Won't they judge you? They might even laugh at you? The other Rugby teams don't respond with jokes or laughter though. They take it incredibly seriously, responding with a lot of posturing. They can see it clearly for what it is, an ancient cultural practice, as is Yoga, which many Rugby players practice now too. For those who haven't tried it yet, take your glasses off, wipe them clean to free yourself of all Asmita, Dvesha and Abinivesha and join us all on the mat - there is so much more to learn each day!
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