breathing in the face of dvesa

Recently rummaging through a bag I hadn’t used in a while I found a little folded up piece of paper, and when I opened it up it had written across it “Everything you want in life is just beyond your comfort zone.” Well, this got me thinking about my comfort zone with regards to various aspects of my life, and whether or not I willingly step beyond it. It especially forced me to stop and look at the areas I have complete aversion to pushing beyond, and think about why. In most cases I found my reasoning pretty weak, based on fear, ego or simply habit. This little moment of pause and contemplation about my comfort zone gave me some insight into aversion, dvesa, one of the four obstacles causing avidya (misperception).

According to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras there are four main obstacle which prevent us from having clear perception: asmita, ego (which we discussed in class last week); dvesa, aversion; raga, attachment; and abhinivesa, fear.

We feel aversion to something because that thing makes us uncomfortable, and so often we act on impulse to run away from it without giving our reasoning a good look over. This results in a life controlled by habit and impulse rather than by our higher discerning nature.

Now, there are many things for which we rightly have aversion because they are harmful to us in one way or another. So this week in class I’ve asked my students to practice taking two deep breaths in the face of aversion, dvesa, and in the space of two simple breaths we can usually decipher if aversion is arising from fear, ego, etc. or from a clearer reasoned perspective.

As always, the awareness we practice in asana class is just as applicable outside of asana class. Already this week I’ve come up against my comfort zone in a few day scenarios, taken two deep breaths, stepped a little over my normal line of comfort, and felt absolutely thrilled with the results. Good luck and enjoy this simple little practice of breathing in the face of dvesa.

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3 thoughts on “breathing in the face of dvesa

  1. Thanks Morgan- I really enjoyed reading that! I asked my mom to bring out a copy of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras from the states, but when I looked online I found there are so many translations. Do you have a recommendation? I’m still in Shanghai- meeting up with family in Thailand next week for my wedding!

    Not making choices based on fear is great advise- thanks for the reminder:) I am sick with a fever right now and my bachelorette party is tonight… I am afraid of letting people down but I’m realizing I can’t swing it. I had 9 students sick this week… I tried to stay healthy, but alas it got me!

    I am sending you lots of love! xoxo
    Catlin (gata)

  2. Gata – So wonderful to get an update from you! Funny enough I saw a billboard just this week about GATA something with a hot cartoon cat on it, and of course thought of you.

    Congratulations on your marriage! Sounds like you’re getting more and more settled in the East, can’t blame you 😉 Good luck with everything, take care of yourself and get well, all your friends will understand and you won’t be letting anybody down.

    Sending you back lots and lots of love!

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