Share Pin Email
feature image
Live Fit

Sharath Jois on Ridding Yourself of the Six Poisons

Being a yogi is a practice that goes well beyond āsana or a yoga class. Though it can take a lifetime, here's how to find the “state of yoga” without looking too far.

Author Image
Yoga Master Paramaguru

For our benefit, the “state of yoga” has been described in ancient texts, like the Upanishads, which says yoga is a method to connect jīvātmā, the inner soul, to paramātmā, the higher soul. In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, the second sutra (“yogas citta vritti nirodhah”) says that when you are in a state of yoga, all misconceptions (vrittis) disappear. Both of these meanings go hand-in-hand. To connect to the supreme, or the higher soul, your mind must be free from all delusions.

Likewise, many yoga philosophers say yoga is within you. The supreme is within you. Therefore, the state of yoga is to realize the supreme inside you. So how do we connect to the supreme soul?

Most people are caught up in so many delusions, which won’t allow them to understand their inner purity. I love children because just to see a child or to carry a child is like carrying the divine. He or she is untouched by anything. There is no greed, no envy. But as we grow into adults, we become consumed with delusions and this inhibits our pathway to samadhi, the final limb of the eight-limbed Aṣṭāṅga method.

Related: The Eight Limbs of Yoga Explained

Ancient texts have identified six poisons, or arishadvargas, that we must rid ourselves before we can see the divine. They are kaama (lust), krodha (anger), moha (attachment), lobha (greed), matsarya (jealousy) and mada (pride). We are not born with these things, but over a period of time, we get influenced by all of them, and they stay within us. Greed comes, lust comes, anger comes. In fact, these poisons can consistently grow within us. This is not good. This is not healthy. A person might be physically healthy, but mentally, he or she is not healthy. This is why āsana is only one part of the Aṣṭāṅga method. A healthy body cannot realize the divine if the mind is not healthy.

Aṣṭāṅga yoga is a method to understand your inner self. Through the eight limbs, we can rid ourselves of the six poisons. He or she who tries to get rid of all these things, we call them a sādhaka. A sādhaka is more than a practitioner. He or she is focused on how to eliminate the six enemies within. This effort, when undertaken, is called sādhanā. Sadhana is the state of the yogi. A sādhaka lives differently because he is striving to a higher level of being. Through dedication and devotion to his goal, his perception changes, his views change, his thoughts also change—everything will change within him as he goes to higher levels. Yoga liberates us from the poisons within ourselves. The purification happens in the body as well as the mind.

A yogi is untouched by poisons. This is the purpose of doing yoga and this is the state of a yogi. We must always put more effort towards this through dedication and devotion to experience clarity within ourselves. It doesn’t matter where you are. If you come to Mysore and you don’t see me, you’ll think yoga doesn’t happen. Then you’ll start blaming me. “I went to Mysore, you were not there, and yoga didn’t happen,” you might say. But yoga is within you. The supreme is within you and all of us.

Photography by Jesse Gordon



Comments (0)

A 3-Day Clean Eating Meal Plan

Reset your diet to feel healthy and energized with Sonima’s free six-page guide designed to keep you satisfied as you cut back on calories, sugar, and processed foods!

Get the Guide

Load More

Find us on Instagram

  • Have you ever noticed that spas tend to smell of flowers such as lavender and ylang ylang? Studies show that these scents increase calmness, which is right for that setting. If you were to look for an essential oil that had the opposite effect—one that made you more energized and alert—choose peppermint. This distinct odor has the opposite effect of soothing essential oils, although it’s still a pleasant scent. Peppermint can even enhance your memory. #energyboost #boostenergy #essentialoils #memorybooster #naturalhealth #naturalremedies
  • If you find it hard to concentrate, try this practice from @alive.awake.empowered at least once a day: Count breathing cycles. Inhale, exhale, one. Inhale, exhale, two. Inhale, exhale, three. And so on.

You may be able to get only as far as two or three at first. But with practice, you will improve, and so will your ability to concentrate. Do what you can, and when a thought interrupts, go back to one.

#meditation #concentration #focus #mondays
  • Yoga is a therapeutic practice at all levels—physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. When used appropriately, it has the power to heal, balancing each of the above aspects and bringing them into harmony with each other. Even for healthy practitioners, yoga is therapeutic, working to strengthen and refine all aspects of their system.

Although we can treat the symptoms of disease or injury in many different ways, healing is a process that comes from within. It happens as a result of the system’s innate intelligence, but this process can be adversely affected when we are out of balance. The aim of yoga and yoga therapy is to support the natural process of healing by bringing us back into balance on all levels.

Click the link in our bio to learn more about yoga as therapy from @andrew.hillam. 
#yoga #yogatherapy #ashtanga #yogaheals
  • Use the power of your breath to warm up naturally! Take a deep breath, but rather than consciously exhaling and pushing the air out, just sort of “let it go." Take 10 breaths like this in a row, trying to go a little bit deeper with each successive inhale, but putting no force behind your exhalation. After your tenth breath, take in one more deep breath, and this time hold it in. Engage the muscles in your chest, back, and shoulders, as if you were using them to give the air inside your lungs a firm hug. You may notice a warm, tingling sensation inside your chest.
#breathwork #winter #powerofbreath
  • #mlk #mlkday #quotes #happiness #behappy
  • Who doesn't love a quiz? Take our personality test to better understand the desires, fears, and tendencies that affect your relationships and personal growth. See link in bio. #personalitytypes #enneagram #quiz #knowyourself #liveauthentically
Receive fresh content delivered to your inbox every week!