As one of the kleshas, abhinivesha works to block enlightenment and liberation. In it’s specific definition, it means fear of death; however, many yogis also interpret it as general fear and anxiety that causes suffering. Patanjali's Yoga Sutras describe kleshas as impediments to spiritual growth. Yogic practices, such as meditation and pranayama breathing exercises, provide methods to overcome abhinivesha.
According to the Yoga Sutras, there are four stages to overcoming the influence of kleshas like abhinivesha:
- Udaram - the active stage
- Vicchinna - the separated stage
- Tanu - the attenuated stage
- Parsupta - the dormant stage
The process begins with mindfully observing one's own kleshas as they arise.