According to yoga the key cause of suffering ‘dukkha’ are the kleshas which feed the illusion of disconnectedness.
‘The pain-bearing obstacles are ignorance, egoism, attachment, aversion and clinging to life’
Yoga sutras 2.2 Patanjali
Kleshas cause a vicious cycle of pain:
Ignorance (avidya): anorexics ignore the bodily need for nourishment.
Egoism (asmita): a body-mind separation feeds the ego.
Attachment (raga): an addiction to starvation out of an attachment to fear.
Aversion (aversion): a dislike of their true self. Body image distortions and avoidance of reality and painful emotions.
Clinging to life (abhinivesa): anorexics attempt to control the uncontrollable. Chitta vritti; thoughts are like waves of a ceaseless ocean which cannot be tamed. We need to learn how to navigate through the waves rather than attempt to stop them.
The opposite of ‘dukkha’ is ‘sukkha’ or joy. In order to find sukkha we need to break free from the kleshas. This requires self-knowledge and observation of the true cause of our actions.
The 5000 year old philosophy of Yoga teaches us how to attain joyfulness and liberation from the kleshas. Yoga teaches that the path to liberation is in being fully present and united at all times. Once at peace with ourselves we can then embrace life fearlessly.
Patanjali’s Yoga sutras are the guidelines to embracing the path of Yoga. There are eight petals or limbs to the entire philosophy and each is a stepping stone to feeding the soul back to full health.