In establishing a home practice or when taking classes, there is comfort in knowing that we all encounter obstacles. Because these distractions are to be expected, we can be prepared and notice as they present themselves. Noticing is the first step. Labeling the obstacle is a way of examining the conditions and our response in a more objective way.
The 9 Antaryah/Obstacles:
vyadhi = disease, illness, sickness
styana = mental laziness, inefficiency, idleness, procrastination, dullness
samshaya = indecision, doubt
pramada = carelessness, negligence
alasya = sloth, languor, laziness
avirati = sensuality, want of non-attachment, non-abstention, craving
bhranti-darshana = false views or perception, confusion of philosophies (bhranti = false; darshana = views, perception)
alabdha-bhumikatva = failing to attain stages of practice (alabdha = not obtaining; bhumikatva = stage, state, firm ground)
anavasthitatva = instability, slipping down, inability to maintain
If noticing the grip of an antarayah (obstacle) is challenging, we are most fortunate to have more gross signals that an obstacle is presenting itself and these are not to be ignored.
Daurmanasya: sadness, despair, dejection
Angamejayatva: shakiness, unsteadiness
Svasa prasvasa: irregular inhalation Be interested in tracing the reaction (physical pain, sadness, shakiness, irregular breathing) back to the source. For example. (Some of these are a bit of a stretch, so find your own connections that are relevant to your practice): - Is the suffering related to vyadhi and do modifications to the pose need to be taken in order to practice non harm? - Is the irregular inhalation presenting related to pramada? Do you need to practice with sensitivity to your effort level. Can you work in such a way that the breath remains smooth and steady? - Is the shakiness due to Anavasthitatva and are you assuming todays practice is like last weeks practice? If shakiness presents itself due to the conditions of the body or mind set on that particular day, can you accept this and adjust your approach? Do you continue to demand that the body do as it was doing during a time when your practice may have been more consistent? - Sadness can be felt for many reasons. Vyadhi, where chronic pain from disease can make everything feel hard. Consider also that Samshaya can cause despair. Perhaps you don't know what to do in your home practice, or doubt that it will be sufficient or helpful. Perhaps you feel that it is impossible to work through certain obstacles. Although the yoga sutras provide many "solutions" to the obstacles, many of them can be dealt with in terms of how we approach our practice. In Gem for Women by Geeta Iyengar calls for the qualities of faith, enthusiasm, determination, keenness, courage, will and dedication. Also, meet Ganesh, with whom a mantra is associated and best known for its ability to remove obstacles from our psychological and spiritual lives. I took this photo when I spent time at the Indian Ocean during my visit in January of 2018. Ganesh statues like this could be found all over the sand.