This week I am exploring the theme of avidya in my classes. Avidya means misapprehension / Ignorance or lack of self knowledge. The deep goal of yoga is to reduce the veil of avidya and create a shift in consciousness. Avidya is one of the five kleshas or troubles of the mind and the yogis along with buddhists believe are the reasons we are bound. Ego (asmita) , attachment to pleasure (raga) , aversion to pain (devesa) and fear of death (abhinivesah) being the others.
It is darkness within us that forces us to seek knowledge. Self knowledge is the key to overcoming avidya and meditation is a powerful tool and doorway for this conscious work.
Avidya is a pattern/habit which through consciousness can be overcome. In our physical asana practice we can fall into bad habits with alinement particularly in the Vinyasa practice. Both are habitual patterns of body and mind. Yoga is not about attaining ideal physical postures. It’s a journey inwards, of self discovery and self acceptance.