5 Really Informative & Powerful Principles About Yoga Psychology

Today I want to delve into yoga physcology. Yoga is a physical, spiritual, and psychological practice. You can see the effects of all three of these in a robust practice. For example, we can see the spiritual effects of yoga as we grow closer in unity to the universe and mindfulness. The physical effects of yoga can be seen in released tension, improved flexibility and strength, and better physical alignment.

Just as yoga has numerous benefits on spirituality and the physical body (not just the few mentioned above!) there are psychological benefits to this practice as well. It really is a fully body, full mind experience that impacts every part of your life.

5 Really Informative & Powerful Principles About Yoga Psychology

There are five kleshas in yoga psychology. Kleshas means “poison” in sanskrit, and these are all physcological worries that poison our minds and keep us from health and happiness. I believe it’s important to recognize these poisons for what they are, so we can weaken and overcome them.

If we don’t know where the problem is coming from, how can we possibly stop it? We can keep treating the symptoms of the issue, or we can go to the cause of the disease and cure it. That’s precisely why I want to share my insight on yoga psychology, so we can begin to work on these deep-seated issues together.

Unrooting these issues won’t happen overnight (because shortcuts are short-term and don’t produce real results!)  but understanding is the first step to resolving them.

The 5 Kleshas

1. Avidya

At its core, this klesha is ignorance. It means contempt prior to investigation, or disliking something or someone before you even know them. Instead of seeking different opinions or listening to advice outside of your own thoughts, avidya is relying on only yourself. This can lead to spiritual ignorance, misapprehension, and lack of insight.


2. Asmita

This klesha is rooted in separateness. While it is good to be your own person, an overwhelming feeling of individuality and egoism can separate you from your community and the universe. Otherwise known as the I-feeling, it is the sense of “me, me, me”.

3. Raga

Raga is almost the opposite of asmita. Instead of being separated, raga is the problem of attachment. We are so passionate and involved with a specific cause, person, idea, expectation, that we become too engrossed in it. If a project fails, we fail. While passion is good, it is only beneficial up to a point. We need to release the outcome and our expectations so that we do not become deeply unhappy when things do not turn out as we expect.  

4. Dvesha

Dvesha, also known as Dvesa and Dwesha, is the klesha of aversion. This is when our hearts become full of disgust and hatred. We lose sight of the beauty of the universe and our part in it because we are fixated on something or someone that we hate.

5. Abhinivesha (Abhinivesah, Abhinivesa)

Abhinivesha, or Abhinivesah or Abhinivesa, is the fear of death. We all have a will to live that resides deeply within us. However, unnecessary insecurity about our own mortality can consume our minds. By clinging to bodily life, we are losing sight of our spiritual being and the joy of the present moment.

How to Overcome the Kleshas

The kleshas are the essential tenets of yoga psychology. Understanding these kleshas are the first steps to overcoming them.

As a coach, I help my clients look past ignorance, what I refer to as a veil shielding us from shining brightly as our highest and truest selves, to find Vidya. Vidya is true wisdom and the highest understanding. By living with love, light, and peace, we can experience pure consciousness, and thus know and live in Vidya.

I encourage all my clients to begin to move daily.

A daily yoga practice that is repeated over and over again will have a dramatic impact on your life.

The discipline of moving daily will help weaken the kleshas.  

These obstacles want to tear us down, but daily movement gives us a chance to examine our own thought processes.

By focusing on a daily practice that we can control, instead of all the things we can’t, we can build up our mental and physical strength. Daily movement gives us a chance to address emotional and physical issues, and become stronger for it.

The kleshas are obstacles that must be faced (remember, there’s no use in a short cut!).

But you don’t have to face them alone.

I help people every day face their own kleshas. Using yoga physcology, I hold my clients accountable however they feel will be most effective. If that means texting every night for a month to ensure you got daily movement in, I’ll do it!

Are your worries taking over?

Let’s discuss your own kleshas and how we can divert your attention to healthier avenues of thought.



Mary Sabo