Self-Discovery Challenge Day 1: Abhinivesha (Fear)


Welcome to Day 1 of our weeklong Self-Discovery Challenge! For the next seven days it will be our aim to have a better understanding not only of the universal obstacles, known as the kleshas, but also to have a much better understanding of how they limit our happiness, keep us stuck, and impede our personal transformation. We will each do this by noticing our triggers—and acknowledging them by switching or tugging the Klesha Bracelet we have each chosen to wear. 

Yoga teaches, and I have experienced, that mindfulness is the key start to transformation. There are multitudes of ways that we can practice mindfulness—including meditation. But for this week we will be practicing an active form of mindfulness by taking an action, and that action is switching the Klesha Bracelet to the other wrist, or tugging the bracelet, each time we catch the “trigger of the day.” Think of the trigger as the informant that you will have with you during the day to reveal to you how the kleshas work against our natural state of balance and happiness.

There are five kleshas, or obstacles, with ignorance traditionally being the first and fear the last. We will study these in a less conventional order, from last to first, so that we can see how fear is really an outgrowth of the first, or root, klesha—ignorance.

So today we begin with a look at abhinivesha. Although it’s traditionally translated as “fear of death,” we will be on the lookout for the subtler yet prominent expression of fear experienced as anxiety. Each time you catch yourself feeling anxious or worried—or even having a worrisome thought—immediately switch your Klesha Bracelet to the other wrist. At first you might miss the sneaky, habitual voice of worry. Or you may have an experience like mine, where I was baffled at the incessancy of anxious thinking. In either case, try your best not to make a judgment about what you notice, but take the position of the witness and simply proceed by switching the bracelet.


Welcome what you notice and learn about yourself and the habits of your mind. Additionally, remember that your thoughts are not really “you,” but a reflection of the patterns we have individually fallen into—mostly out of a lack of mindfulness. If you have the opportunity to carry a journal with you—or to make a note in your phone as you begin to see the consistencies arise—you’ll have another informant by your side.

Kudos to you for walking this path! I hope you will share your experience with me and the many others who are ready to move forward on the path of self-discovery and transformation. I encourage you to ask questions and share your comments and realizations on Facebook or post on the web on each particular day.

Lastly, if you have the time, consider downloading my 15-minute “Deep Relaxation” (Right click and select "Save Link As") that will help to reduce anxiety today and into the future.

Namaste! Amy

About the Teacher

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Amy Pearce-Hayden
Amy’s formal study of yoga began in 1995 with Iyengar Master, Gabriel Halpern, although she was self-taught... Read more