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The Three Types of Pain According to Sankya Philosophy

I study yoga philosophy every week on live Zoom calls with a teacher in India. This week I learned something from her that I want to share.


According to Sankyha philosophy (where yoga originates), there are three types of pains in the world. The pains are:


  1. Adhyatmikra - Internal Pain. This is pain that comes from our own mind, from negative thinking, from narratives that dictate our choices, etc.

  2. Adhibhautika - External Pain. This is pain that is caused by other living beings. For example, a fight with a friend, a mosquito biting you, or being hit by a car.

  3. Adhidaivika - Supernatural Pain. These are the pains that we just can't figure out why they happen. Like hurricanes, like floods, like tsunamis. These are beyond our control.


Life is meant to be joyful, but unfortunately our likes, dislikes, and attachments turn it into a painful experience. When we accept that suffering is a fact of human life, and that we live with pain, the natural next step is to want to find a solution to our suffering. We will search the world for solutions to our suffering (and that's where we might start to lean towards addiction, or other destructive habits). Eventually we realize that all the solutions in the external world are short-term and inadequate, and the only long-term solution to our suffering is practicing, studying and living the spiritual path, and that's when we arrive at yoga.


One of the reasons we chant om three times and shanti three times at the end of the practice is to signify alleviating the suffering on all three of these plains. May there be peace in my inside world, peace in my outside world and peace in the universe. I used to always rush the end of my asana practices with just one "om" - but once I learned this from my teacher it felt important to chant all three "oms" and three "shantis", and that's what I started doing this week in my in person classes.


Want to learn more about yoga philosophy with me? I've postponed the start date of my Yoga Sutra Study course - we're now starting this Tuesday January 16th. If you were previously holding back on signing up, now is the time! I won't offer this course again until 2025. It's a tight knit group of students meeting once a week on Zoom from January - May 2024. It's a truly transformative container that can massively change your life. Join us and book your spot here!


See you on the inside!

Love,

Alex

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