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Wk 170 – Purusarthas – 4 Desires – 3. Kama

The third Purusartha is Kama. Kama pertains to desires, passions, ascetic beauty and the pursuit of pleasure, including both physical and emotional enjoyment. Attaining Kama in the context of yoga involves experiencing and enjoying life’s pleasures while maintaining mindfulness, moderation, and ethical conduct. 

There are many ways we can experience Kama. We form and nurture meaningful relationships based on love, compassion, respect and understanding this includes relationships with partners, family members, friends, and the larger community. This also includes discovering your own gratification in your enjoyment in sensuality and sexuality that is aligned with your moral and ethical aspirations.

However, Kama is also engaging in creative activities such as music, painting, writing or any form of artistic expression like dance or even yoga can be a way to express Kama through the body’s movements evoking feelings of joy and satisfaction and appreciation of it all.

Spending time in nature, enjoying the beauty of landscapes, and appreciating the wonders of the natural world can be a source of sensual pleasure and a way to connect with the environment. Being fully present in sensory experiences, such as feeling the warmth of the sun, fresh water swimming, feeling sand through your toes as you smell the salty sea breeze from the ocean or listening to soothing crashing waves, can enhance the experience of pleasure.

Another way of enjoying sensory delights is by savouring delicious and nourishing food, prepared with care and mindfulness, can be a way to indulge in sensory pleasure especially if we share it with others.

Sharing with others is amazing!!! Laughter, successes, achievements, beauty, new experiences and just the joy of worldly delights! It all creates a feeling of belonging and connection, where you can show acts of kindness, compassion, generosity and being of service to others can bring a sense of wholehearted fulfilment.

Yogis approach Kama as an aspect of human experience, but with an awareness of its potential pitfalls and the need to avoid excessive attachment that can result in a progressively addictive cycle into suffering due to desire, Raga Klesha, the mental emotion affliction. 

Here’s some insight into how yogis practice attaining Kama in a balanced way. First is to cultivate Self-Awareness in a Yoga practice, to understand the root of one’s desires and motivations in seeking to experience the pleasure from it. Life will have ups and downs, a Yoga practice helps with emotional resilience and equanimity to manage the addictive nature of pleasure. Through self-awareness and understanding we can make conscious choices and avoid being driven by unconscious impulses. When there is pleasure, fully engage in the present moment, savouring the experience without dwelling on the past or getting preoccupied with future desires. Recognising the temporary and impermanent nature of sensory experiences, we are advised to practice non-attachment. It’s to acknowledge that desires are natural, but avoid becoming excessively attached to them thinking that attainment of the pleasure will last or fix or solve pain. 

Having a balanced lifestyle that includes time for relaxation, hobbies, and activities that bring joy should be prioritised. To find fulfilment through creative expression, such as music, dance, art, or other forms of artistic pursuits. Engaging in creative activities allows you to experience joy and express yourself authentically. Carving out mini breaks during your day & allowing yourself to enjoy life’s simple pleasures 

Yogis approach relationships with compassion, respect, and empathy. They seek to build meaningful connections based on mutual understanding and support rather than merely pursuing gratification. Yogis cultivate gratitude for life’s blessings & find contentment in the present moment. They understand that being content with what they have enriches their experience of Kama, that true happiness comes from within, not solely from external experiences.

Yogis integrate their pursuit of Kama w/in a broader spiritual perspective. They recognise that enjoying life’s pleasures is one aspect of the human experience but should not become the sole focus of their lives. By approaching Kama with mindfulness, moderation, and ethical conduct, yogis navigate the realm of desires and pleasures while staying grounded in their spiritual journey. 

It’s essential to remember that yoga aims to harmonise all aspects of life, including desires, in pursuit of greater self-awareness and inner contentment.

Enjoy this Kama Yoga practice and the guided savasana at the end that will deeply unfold sensory delight within you celebrating KAMA in all its glory.