Thursday, November 05, 2009


Boodiba's current teacher recently mentioned something about the Six Poisons to her. The perimenopausal mind recalled learning about them at some point, but could not remember the specifics.

Then I found this:

The six poisons:

A vital aspect of internal purification that Pattabhi Jois teaches relates to the six poisons that surround the spiritual heart. In the yoga shastra it is said that God dwells in our heart in the form of light, but this light is covered by six poisons; kama, krodha, moha, lobha, matsarya, and mada. These are desire, anger, delusion, greed, envy and sloth. When yoga practice is sustained with great diligence and dedication over a long period of time, the heat generated from it burns away these poisons, and the light of our inner nature shines forth.

One hopes that by yoga, they mean all eight limbs - not just asana (the poses) - and/or yoga as taught in the Bhagavad Gita.

When it is just about asana practice - especially Mysore-style ashtanga - it can add to the poisons (desiring and being greedy for more poses, envy of those who are "ahead" in the practice, being angry at the teacher for not giving more poses, being deluded about the importance of the pose, and sleeping all afternoon because of the intense, early morning practice). At least in the beginning anyway. (That could explain why there are six series).

Sri Ramakrishna said the greatest obstacles to spiritual growth are "women" and "gold" (desire and greed).

My teacher mentions anger, lust and greed. (He also says that without Yama [ethical roots], there is no Yoga).

I'm challenged by all of them, but the biggies would be sloth and anger (although I haven't put a fist through a wall or window - or broken a phone - since I started practicing yoga.... knock wood now).

What are your biggies?


  1. I have to say mine as the same. Anger and Sloth.
    I struggle with keeping motiviated on many levels lately. The weather change perhaps?
    Anger; mainly because it used to be my default attitude.

  2. “While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises. From anger, complete delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost one falls down again into the material pool. ” Bhagavad-gita 2.62-63

    Come on in...the water's warm.