Yoga Philosophy

Divine Dissatisfaction

The path of yoga is not for the faint of heart.  The end result might be nice but the process, for most, is not. Many people stop the process because they don’t understand what is happening. We are sold on the idea that everything that is good also feels good. We have been told that ease is a sign that we have made the right decision so we search for ease and run away from the feelings mentioned in the poem below. This is why the yogis warned us about dvesha or avoiding painful or sorrowful experiences. If we are having an experience, there is something that needs to be explored. If we run away from that, then the process is interrupted.

Many of the untoward things happening in the yoga world are a result of a process that has been interrupted. As Sharath says,

“You can sail around and around the ocean for years, but it’s only when you dive in that you know the beauty of the sea”.

If we don’t dive deep, we are left with a shallow understanding of yoga and it’s principals. Something beautiful but empty.

In order to be truly free, you must desire to know the truth more than you want to feel good. Because if feeling good is your goal, then as soon as you feel better you will lose interest in what is true. This does not mean that feeling good or experiencing love and bliss is a bad thing. Given the choice, anyone would choose to feel bliss rather than sorrow. It simply means that if this desire to feel good is stronger than the yearning to see, know, and experience Truth, then this desire will always be distorting the perception of what is Real, while corrupting one’s deepest integrity. Adyashanti


A poem by Steve Taylor from


When you sense there’s something more
when the life that used to satisfy you no longer seems enough
when security seems suffocating and pleasures lose their taste
when dreams of success can’t motivate you anymore
and diversions don’t seem to divert you
and familiarity seems oppressive, like a coat that’s too old and tight
and every repetition of the old routine
makes you more stale and weary

When you ache with a sadness that doesn’t seem to have a source
and find yourself crying but can’t explain why
when you feel a hunger you’ve never known before
that seems too subtle to ever be satisfied
and ask yourself ‘What’s wrong with me?
Why can’t I be happy anymore?’

There’s nothing wrong with you
don’t let the doctor diagnose you with depression
tell you your serotonin levels might be low
or that you need to change your thinking style.

This isn’t anxiety or depression
it’s divine dissatisfaction
you’re not breaking down, but breaking through.

This is your awakening
the tearing of the veil
the opening of your soul
the old world is collapsing behind you
and you’re standing at the threshold of the new
disoriented, confused
wondering how to make sense of this strange place
but as long you understand
and have the courage to go forward
your path will form in front of you
you will find a guide
and a glorious journey will begin.

Shanna Small has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga and studying the Yoga Sutras since 2001. She has studied in Mysore with Sharath Jois and is the Director of AYS Charlotte, a school for traditional Ashtanga in Charlotte NC. She has written for Yoga International and the Ashtanga Dispatch. Go here for more information on AYS Charlotte. For information on workshops, please e-mail

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