Tension, what does this forceful word conjure up when you stop and take a moment to think about it? Negativity, stress, suffering . . .

Tension impacts our state of well-being rupturing our existence affecting others. Tension can cloud our judgement and impair our ability to see and think clearly. Pressure builds up in our muscles and our breathing can shudder. Just as I write this, I’m spurting out loud and hammering the keyboard!

Breathe moment . . .

Young lonely woman on bench in park

Time and again, I find that tension originates from life’s challenges, which in truth, I often am the generator of. However, it is the accumulation of tension over time, without a reflecting pause which causes upsurges from within, like a deadly volcanic core, threatening to erupt and destroy.

A volcano is a force to be reckoned with, but it is also essential, enriching the soil, cooling the earth and providing water. It is a perfectly natural and integral part of our planet. So is tension, we were built to react to it and survive with it.

Ponder this. When we practice Yoga we dutifully place our body in a state of tension. We do so with awareness in order to elevate our self, whatever our motivations. As long as we understand the driving force we can appreciate the cause and effect.

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, describe maladies referred to as The Pancha Klesha, or five tensions which are widely considered the roots of all suffering that afflict every material being. These tensions drive behaviour producing and perpetuating our karma.


1. Avida, Ignorance

“What is the truth?”

To be ignorant is to be oblivious to truthful knowledge. When we disregard the origin of our inner presence and true-self, we fail to understand meaning and purpose.

2. Asmita, egoism

“I am this”

The ego is a self-centered perception, mutable in all human beings. It is the inflated belief and feeling of the self in relation to others, when it may not be truthfully so.

3. Raga, unlimited desire

“I want”

When our emotional yearning is embedded in external factors, it is superficial, unsustainable and boundless.

4. Dvesha, aversion/dislike

“I hate”

A repugnant belief that external circumstances are responsible for the cause of our unhappiness. It is driven by emotional agitation when we express our aversion to certain things or beings without justified cause.

5. Abhinivesha, fear of death

Deep seated anxiety linked to death which can be over stimulated by our will to live, by avoiding and not making peace with the inevitable truth that everyone will die.


overcoming tensionThe hardship we endure through tension and suffering can be used as a symbolic triumph in the face of adversity. Beauty, understanding and peace can always be found for those who have the courage to seek it. Whilst tension will perpetually surface to challenge our existence, we should not forget that it can be an elemental natural force, designed to aid our elevated state by helping us reach a greater sense of self-awareness.  It is through awareness that we may strive for self-realisation which we can practice to root ourselves in the present moment. So live with openness and take comfort that through your practie of Yoga, Pranayama and Meditation you are dedicated to becoming present, reflecting and distinguishing between the extremities of disorder and order.