Klesa: Eliminate Ego and Cultivate an Identity to Attracts Abundance


his article excerpt covers Yoga Sutra 2.3 and centers around the Sanksrit word: Klesa.  Again, what you read below is an introduction to the Yoga Sutras and  a part of our broader series covering the Yoga Sutras for Beginners, which is 15 article excerpts in total. 

Each of the article excerpts within this series will give you a sneak peek into the wonderful work created by Yogi and author, Melissa Lavery, whose complete book, The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Freedom is available at select distributors throughout the US as well as Amazon’s online bookstore.

All content excerpts are provided with permission by the publisher.

The book itself is organized into 3 parts and further divided into each of the 15 categories below:

The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Relationships

  1. Shanti: How to Maintain Personal Peace and Power in Relationships
  2. Yama: How to Eliminate Suffering and Cultivate a Better Relationship with the World
  3. Niyama: How to Cultivate a Better Relationship with Yourself and Commit to Personal Self-Care
  4. Pratipaksa Bhavana: How to Navigate Conflicting World-views and Build Relationships with Anyone
  5. Samadhi: How the Inner Journey Toward Self Will Bring You Closer to the Divine Consciousness

The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Health

  1. Asana: The Health Benefits of a Physical Practice (On and Off the Mat)
  2. Pranayama: How to Maintain Health Through Breath Awareness
  3. Samyama: How to Travel the Meditative Path to Health and Wellness
  4. Nidra: How to Improve Your Sleep Quality to Enhance Health and Wellness
  5. Sauca: How Cleanliness Paves the Path to Holistic Health

The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Abundance

  1. Klesa: How to Eliminate Ego’s Control and Cultivate an Identity that Attracts Abundance
  2. Satya: How Authenticity Leads to Attracting Abundance
  3. Astreya: How to Practice Non-Stealing to Attract Wealth and Abundance
  4. Aparigraha: How the Practice of Non-Hoarding Can Benefit Your Wallet and Illumniate Your Path
  5. Sadhana: How Consistent Practice Creates a Strong Foundation for an Abundant Life

The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Freedom

Klesa: How to Eliminate Ego's Control and Cultivate an Identity that Attracts Abundance

Ignorance, egoism, attachment, hatred, and clinging to the body life are the five obstacles.

The ego, defined by psychological theory, is the mediating factor between subconscious desires and conscious reality, and it is responsible for shaping a person’s sense of self-worth. While the study of psychology has encouraged people to cultivate a healthy ego, the study of yoga is based on eliminating the ego and identifying with a higher reality: You are not your body, mind, or possessions, but rather an all-encompassing “Seer”. Awareness, itself. 

Many people struggle with this concept, especially in our modern world where we work, play, and interact as unique individuals. While it is important to navigate our responsibilities in the roles we manage, our created identities often interfere with our ability to establish joy and abundance. How we see ourselves—our name, possessions, skin color, health—is a construct of the mind. And the stories we tell ourselves about this identity cloud our reality and control the course of life. 

Through practicing yoga, you can learn how to hurdle the obstacles to abundance and happiness:

  1. Ignorance
  2. Ego
  3. Attachment
  4. Aversion
  5. Clinging to Life

These mental and emotional obstacles, or kleśas, work against our ability to grow. It is through these distorted identifications that we focus on lack, hold onto that which hurts us, and unfairly compare ourselves to others on their unique life paths. In yoga, you can clarify the heart-mind and build a life, even in this modern world, that leads to the flow of abundance.

What is Wealth and What Stands in the Way of Abundance?

The ancient wisdom of yoga provides practitioners with a guiding light toward freedom and joy. Freedom is obtained through clarity, removing the obstacles from our path and seeing through all the mud. This freedom leads to profound joy. One of the ways in which yoga helps us is by accepting what is and by eliminating qualitative labels, such as good or bad. It is in life’s experiences that we flow. It is in the present moment that we live. 

According to “The Yoga Sūtras of Patāñjali”, ignorance, egoism, attachment, hatred, and clinging to bodily life are the five obstacles that impede anything we need. To survive on this planet, all people need wealth, whether it is in cash, assets, or skills. The reality is that we must “purchase” what we need, and we do so through bartering (trading skill or possession for currency) and money. 

Each person will have a different interpretation of what wealth is. Some people may view abundance as having millions (or billions) of dollars, large mansions, expensive cars, and lots of people serving them. Others may see abundance as having enough wealth to keep their loved ones happy and healthy. It is a sliding scale, and everyone has their own judgements. Neither is correct nor incorrect. However, it will be impossible to meet your goals if you live with an identity that acts as an obstacle to and not a conductor of wealth. 

Avidyā (Ignorance)

Ignorance is regarding the impermanent as permanent, the impure as pure, the painful as pleasant, and the non-Self as the Self.

Ignorance, or avidyā, is a stumbling block to obtaining anything you want or need. If you don’t know how or why to proceed, how will you know how to act? In Sanskrit, avidyā is the lack of vidyā, which is awareness. What is the antidote to avidyā? Becoming aware. In the Yoga Sūtras, Patañjali illuminates the dangers of avidyā. In his translation, Śrī Svāmī Saccidānanda provides an example where a man sees a snake in the night. The neighbors are roused from their sleep, one shining a light on the animal. But it is not a snake, it is a coiled rope. In our ever-busy, ever-noisy world, we too can make assumptions and misperceptions about reality. It is through the practice of yoga that we can shine a light on the darkness that clouds our judgment.

Avidyā can hinder many facets of our lives. Pertaining to wealth and abundance, it can keep us stuck in negative patterns. This lack of awareness can inhibit your ability to make decisions that help you accumulate wealth:

  1. Losing money to hidden fees or high interest rates
  2. Neglecting investment opportunities 
  3. Not knowing about savings plans that offer a higher yield
  4. Not using consolidation and other tools to eliminate debt

Ignorance of financial tools and alternative methods (than what you currently use) can make you lose money and opportunities to grow your assets. Fear of change and lack of motivation prevent people from researching and implementing strategies for financial health. Even if you don’t think you have choices (living paycheck to paycheck, having significant debt, or lacking time), you do. Plenty of tools exist online and in books (go to the library!). This information is free. Even if you save a dollar a week, transfer credit card debt to an interest free account, or put your savings in a high-interest account, you are acting. You are shining a light on your snake in the dark. 

Asmitā (Egoism)

Egoism is the identification, as it were, of the power of the Seer (Puruṣa) with that of the instrument of seeing [body-mind].

In Sanskrit, asmitā means “I am-ness”. In the practice of yoga, identifying with the “I” and all its earthly aspects leads one to a distorted sense of self. Our view of ourselves becomes distorted when we identify our being with that of the physical body, our emotional states, the thoughts of the mind, our role in society (occupation and socio-economic class), and our possessions. Through the practice of yoga, the practitioner begins to understand that we are not these things. They are but an outer experience. Our true being resides inside. We are Awareness itself. We are the Seer.

Yoga Sūtra 1.3 explains this concept a bit further: “Then the Seer (Self) abides in Its own nature.” The ego is of this world, and it is always changing the Seer/Self is never changing and is the true essence. Imagine that your face is this Seer. If you look in a dirty, cracked, or colored mirror, your face changes. If you look in a clean, clear, and pure mirror, you can see your face for what it is. Yoga clears our vision. It removes the filter of the worlds’ obstacles. When you begin to see yourself as a part of all the universe—no better, no worse than any other being—you see yourself as you are. You are not your car, your house, your job, your health, your emotions, or your thoughts. You are the pure light of Awareness.

… (end of excerpt)

The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Freedom

Wrapping Up

… to continue reading from this chapter of The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Freedom please visit and order from the book’s page on Amazon.com. Again, we hope you found this valuable and wish you health and happiness along your journey. Namaste.

Caleb Sharbono is a writer, bio-hacker, wellness advocate, and yogi. Caleb, who grew up on a small Montana ranch, joined the Navy at 17 to study cryptology. He later graduated from the US Naval Academy with a Minor in Mandarin, a Bachelor's in General Engineering, and a Major in English Literature. Caleb's interests and career cover diverse industries and disciplines. Caleb lives in San Antonio and is a Certified Yoga Instructor. He is also studying Zen Buddhism, practicing Holistic Psychology, and working towards his 300-hour yoga teacher training.


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