On Suffering

Yoga + Depth Psychology - On Suffering

Dukkha in Buddhism is roughly translated to suffering.

The opposite of sukha (sweetness, joy, ease, happiness, pleasure) is dukkha.

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, are an ancient text about yoga, Patanjali embedded his wisdom about life into these sutras (sutras translates to sutures or threads).

In Yoga Sutra 1.12, Patanjali stated, Abhyasa-Vairagyabhyam Tan-Nirodhah,”

This sutra translates to “Yoga is the cessation of identifying with the fluctuations of the mind or mind chatter” (Satchidananda, 2011, p. 18). In the practice of yoga and meditation, one can learn to develop a clear mind. With a clear mind, one can make decisions that are different from those that would normally cause suffering. “This is healing: a change in mind, in perception, in attitude” (Desikachar, 2005, p. 18).

Pain vs Suffering

Pain is discomfort in the body, mind, or emotions. We experience different types of pain often, it is not avoidable.

Suffering is identifying with the pain. Reacting to the pain. Suffering is avoidable, you can choose to not suffer.

The Yoga Sutras state that there are 5 sources of suffering or kleshas (kleshas translate to poison or obstacles).

1.    Raga- Attachment or Addiction to pleasure

2.    Dvesha- Aversion or Avoidance

3.    Avidya- Ignorance

4.    Asmita- Pride or Identifying with the Ego

5.    Abhinivesha- Fear of Death


What kleshas are causing you suffering?

What is in your way, blocking you, keeping you stuck?

What needs to shift?

Bringing awareness to these kleshas in your life, can allow to break down each wall one brick at a time, it is the path to clarity. 


Hi, I’m Arati Patel, a licensed marriage and family therapist with a passion for helping individuals heal, feel calm, and move towards wholeness. I have specialized interests in working with anxiety, stress, fear, self-doubt, first generation issues, cultural stress, and identity issues. I currently have a private practice in Los Angeles, CA.

Recommended Reading:

Desikachar, K. (1995). The heart of yoga: Developing a personal practice. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions International.

Desikachar, K. (with Bragdon, L., & Bossart, C.) (2005). The yoga of healing: Exploring yoga’s holistic model for health and well-being. International Journal of Yoga Therapy, 15, 17-39.

Iyengar, B. K. S. (1966). Light on yoga. New York, NY: Schocken Books.

Satchidananda, S. (2011). The yoga sutras of Patanjali. Yogaville, VA: Integral Yoga.