The truth behind the lies – Kleshas

In recent weeks, I have been experiencing the rise of difficult relationships with co-workers. I am sharing this today in full consciousness and as thoughts arise, understanding that others may, like me, be experiencing similar unfortunate situations. I am writing this with hopes that it may help others to better understand the root cause of such negative behavior and provide them with some support. On the other hand, you may be this person lashing out at others as a result of your own fears and unhappiness. If this is the case, I do hope it will help you resolve or start to see and understand this internal battle, also known as Kleshas.

Lets first take a look at the driving force behind the Kleshas or personal obstacles. These shape our intentions and karma. According to the Buddha, they are at the root cause of human suffering. These “afflictions” distort our mind and our perceptions affecting how we think, act and feel. Therefore, if we are not conscious of the Kleshas’ existence and of their impact on our lives and behaviors, we react without true knowledge of the impact our actions have on others and on ourselves. People bringing you down, diminishing other’s worth, presenting a false and hypocritical face, are in fact – often unknowingly – screaming for help, seeking their own self-worth.

As a tried to approach these people in a calm and positive manner, offering collaboration, asking whether I had in anyway upsetted them, I was received with false apologies on one side – as I was quick to find out afterwards – and complete silence followed by renewed agressivity on the other side. It has not been an easy road to travel, but I understood many years ago that giving in to this type of behavior would in no way be beneficial or contribute to my inner peace.

There are 5 Kleshas: Avidya or ignorance, is the misunderstanding of the truth and reality. Taking for example my particular situation, when offering help is instead seen as a menace to the other person, thinking that they are under attack. Asmita, is when there is a strong identification with the Ego and where people who lack self-confidence remain stuck, diminishing others to amplify their own self-worth in the views of their piers. Raga is the constant need to be satisfied and to be blindsided by this need for personal satisfaction at all costs which, when we cannot obtain it, causes suffering. Dvesha or avoidance is opposite to Raga as we try to avoid all things and situations that are uncomfortable, as would a person with hypocritical behavior, preferring to run away from facing and dealing with such a situation. And finally, but nonetheless, Abhinivesha, attachment and fear, as it relates to our physical state and our will to live: the fear of death.

Understanding that these elements are at work everyday and every moment of everyone’s lives may help us in becoming more aware of our own behavior and thought pattern. It may, in fact, provide us with the support we need in our personal quest for innerpeace. I hope that this reflection will help you as well.


Pelures d’oignons

La vie nous apprend dès notre jeune âge à agir de telle manière, à parler et même à penser de telle ou telle façon. Tranquillement, nous ajoutons des couches perceptuelles à notre existence parce que c’est ce qui nous est demandé. À l’adolescence, nous éprouvons un grand besoin de battre contre cette conformité, ou de se fondre dans cette masse pour être le plus invisible et imperceptible soit-il. À l’âge adulte, beaucoup poursuivrons ce chemin dicté par la “normalité” sans jamais se poser de question.

Photo de Vero Yoga.

En mode contemplatif à Ubud, Bali        Leggings de Inner Fire

Aujourd’hui je vous pose une question : qui êtes-vous? Qui êtes-vous sous les rôles et les responsabilités qui vous ont été assigné ou que vous vous êtes vous-mêmes imposés? Et vous me répondrez “je suis…”. So Hum : je suis ceci, I am that. Lorsqu’on retire ces épaisseurs qui nous encombre, ces masques derrière lesquels nous nous cachons, qu’est-ce qu’on y retrouve? La vérité et la simplicité du moment présent.

Alors, tout comme lorsqu’on s’affaire à retirer les pelures d’un oignon, je vous invite à tranquillement descendre au fond de vous-même pour revenir à l’essentiel : vous. Je suis ici, présente dans ce monde, dans cet environnement, de réellement prendre conscience de ce qui vous entoure. Et à chaque pelure qui sera retiré, il est possible d’en pleurer.

Cependant, c’est en retirant chacune d’elle, une à la fois, sans aller trop vite, qu’on se permet un temps d’arrêt nécessaire pour trouver ces petites choses qui c’étaient cachées et ancrées en-dedans de nous sous ces couches. Vous verrez, vous vous sentirez plus légers :)

Permettez-vous ce moment de réflexion. Assoyez-vous confortablement, paume des mains vers le ciel et avec de grandes respirations, répétez « Je suis ici », doucement, en remarquant ce qui se passe dans votre corps, où vous êtes tendus. Remarquez le va et viens de la respiration comme celui des vagues de l’océan. Avec chaque inspiration « So » et chaque expiration « Hum ». Je suis ceci, je suis ici.

Visualisez votre interconnexion avec tout ce qui vous entoure et l’expansion de vos poumons et de votre cage thoracique. Respirez. Laissez de côté les rôles et les masques, prenez ce moment pour vous. Ressentez l’enracinement de votre corps à la terre, la liberté de l’air qui entre et sort tranquillement. Vous êtes ici, présents, en pleine expérience de votre humanité. Laissez aller ce qui ne vous sert plus. Cessez de retenir et de vouloir contrôler. Acceptez votre existence et ouvrez les bras à votre vie, à votre expérience. Façonnez votre aventure.


To learn is to be

We can only be taught once we are ready to learn. Whether as a Teacher or a Student, to learn is to open our mind and let go of our inhibitions that are making us feel self-conscious, anxious in front of the unknown and unable to act in a relaxed and natural way. To do so, we need to accept that we might not know and that in fact, sometimes, we might even be wrong or that the other can actually teach us a thing or two, even when we are the Teacher.

photo yoga

Sitting comfy wearing my new Inner Fire Journey leggings teaching yoga and mindfulness to young teens and learning from them to see Life differently :)

And so, to learn and to grow, one must be ready to “listen with the intention of truly understanding”, as Nicole Charron, Peace practitioner once said. But what is meant by “truly understanding”? To understand we have to free ourselves from the grasp of the Ego, of this urge to reply and to voice our opinion. This does not mean that we no longer have an opinion but rather, that we become aware of the filters that distort our perspective developed through our upbringing, personal and cultural experiences.

By lowering our walls and our defenses, allowing ourselves to ask questions and to re-phrase what we have heard, we can start to truly understand the other. Once we are able to allow our mind to be opened to new expressions of knowledge, the ability to learn starts to emerge. We then become ready to be taught in a true manner, opening boxes in our mind that perhaps had been there all along or maybe that are now ready to be filled.

Approaching Life, our children, our partners, our friends, our co-workers, our students and even perfect strangers with this intent, will present us with a world of possibilities. We can then be taught as we are ready to learn.



L’expérience humaine

Par le passé, j’ai souvent entendu des gens dire que nous sommes des êtres spirituels vivants des expériences dans une forme physique humaine. Pour moi, ce concept a toujours demeuré un peu flou dans ma tête et je ne m’y suis jamais vraiment penché davantage.

Au cours des dernières années, ce sont les idéologies de la pratique de yoga Kripalu prônant « L’observation sans jugement » (Swami Kripalu). Selon ce style, l’emphase est mise sur l’accroissement de notre habileté à cultiver une conscience de témoin sans juger les sensations physiques, les pensées et les émotions pouvant ressurgir dans la pratique des postures de yoga. On peut penser ici à ne pas entretenir de pensées compétitives à l’égard de notre voisine qui fait un bien plus beau Guerrier que nous, qu’on n’est toujours pas en mesure de se tenir en équilibre sur la tête, ou bien qu’on n’est vraiment pas flexible du tout! Mais ceci s’applique également à notre vie et à nos expériences de tous les jours…

Récemment, certaines personnes autour de moi m’ont rappelé ceci en m’expliquant un peu mieux la signification et l’importance de ce concept. Nous vivons tous des expériences heureuses, malheureuses, stressantes, excitantes, fâchantes, décevantes, enivrantes et inspirantes mais, sans renier ces émotions ressenties, de remarquer l’effet qu’elles ont sur notre corps physique et choisir de s’en détacher sont des exercices intéressants d’introspection. Par exemple, dans les dernières semaines en particulier j’ai été butté à des émotions fortes, des hauts et des bas devant lesquels j’ai tenté de prendre du recul en conscience de pratiquer ce mode d’observateur. Pas facile, mais de comprendre l’aspect éphémère de ces situations, c’est-à-dire le fait que c’est passager et que ça ne durera pas à tout jamais, peut nous aider à naviguer à travers les plus gros obstacles.

Je vous laisse donc sur cette pensée à méditer et je vous offre cet exercice de respiration pour vous aider à prendre du recul lorsque des événements difficiles se présentent : RRSOP. Avec chaque inspiration : Relaxe, Respire, Sens, Observe, et Permet…


medi bali

Moment de méditation à Bali, Leggings de Inner Fire

Ripple effect…

I’m sure everyone has noticed that when a rock is thrown in water, circles form around the area where the rock entered the water; ripples right?! Have you ever noticed though, that once the ripples reach the shore, they start moving back in the opposite direction, towards the middle of the lake? Or, have you ever noticed that when you throw two rocks close to each other, their ripples cross? Obviously I have too much free time on my hands!

Let’s try, for a moment, to picture ourselves as these rocks. Let’s imagine the ripples as the impact we have on people around  us – even people we do not know. Do we tend to shove people out-of-the-way, or do we offer a newly available seat to someone else? Do we judge (or envy) the beautiful woman that just walked by, or do we smile at her, acknowledging her beauty? And with our loved ones, do we take them for granted and dwell on the past, or do we offer our love unconditionally? In the end, whatever we choose to do, or think, has an effect on you and on those around you. Even when sitting still in meditation, we have an effect on others as well as ourselves – or maybe it is the other way around.

lotus pants and seat

Seating in lotus posture in my Inner Fire lotus print leggings

I really enjoy looking at Zen Buddhist gardens for this reason. Even though the rocks are still, a ripple effect is still represented, drawn in the sand. It tells us that whether we choose to stand still or whether we move around a lot, we create ripples around us. Sometimes, we even have the opportunity to see them, but whether we choose to make a positive difference or not, is entirely up to us.

So try it! Notice how your behavior affects others. A quick and easy one is smiling. When I see someone smiling or someone smiles at me, I usually smile too, even when I do not know the person. Then, smiling makes someone else smile and their smile may make someone else smile and so on, and so forth. The catch is that it also works very well with hate, anger and fear unfortunately. So what will you choose your ripple effect to be today?


Why do yoga?


As I prepare the class outline for Sunday’s yoga practice at my friend’s Fitness Boot Camp, thought seeking in my new Sea Glass Inner Fire Capris, I think about the benefits yoga has brought me and how I could convey this message to these participants who may be at their first experience.

And so, I decided to address the idea that “yoga isn’t for me”, or the misconception of “I’m not flexible enough to do yoga”. From newbies to all-time practitioners, I think that these messages are essential to any level of practice.

First off, yoga is not a sport, not a competition, never a place to compare yourself to others and certainly not just about flexibility! As Judith Hanson Lasater says, “Yoga is not about touching your toes; it’s about what you learn on the way down”. Many will at first be attracted to yoga for the physical benefits, including weight loss, better digestion, toned body, improved flexibility and reduced back and muscle pain. However, there is a lot more to discover…

Secondly, just because you can reach your toes, bend backwards or do the split, does not mean that you are an excellent yogi, nor should this be the goal of practicing yoga. The ability to notice your physical Self and to simply observe what is going on inside your body is a first step in the right direction. As I have written before, in the Power of Practice, “Only by knowing where you stand can you move forward”, then, you can start making changes in your life, starting by yourself, your behavior.

Finally, sure, yoga may not be for you. Perhaps you are unable to slow down, take a break and sit, or maybe you find it a waste of time or an unrealistic approach to life. Well then that might be the exact reason why you should give it a try! There are such a variety of styles of yoga now, from a restorative practice to a high intensity vinyasa or flow, from a yin to power yoga, anyone can find something to enjoy. Ultimately, which ever the path you choose, the goals are the same: to find your Self, to bring focus in your life, to be a better person, to judge less, to lead a healthier happier life, to bring more awareness into your daily lives, and so much more.



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Follow the Luminous Path

We all have one. We might have walked on it in the past and since stepped off. We can come back to it and hop back on the track.

This Path is your own to draw out and follow as only you can choose to fill your life with what you want to see in it.

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So today I invite you to be bold, to wake up the child in you, its kindness, its energy and curiosity in all things.

Open your heart to a world of possibilities and explore what it means to live in full expression of yourself (jivan mukti).

Take the step back on the luminous path, explore your life and the world, renew and strengthen relationships and friendships, reach towards Pure Potentiality.



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