Overcoming the 9 obstacles of yoga –
(picture by Ali)
Ali from Sadhana Yoga suggests that the 9 OBSTACLES OF YOGA, which may naturally arise in the course of our yogic practice, become more relevant as seasons change. Here are ways to overcome them.
- Illness (Vyadhi)- Feeling under the weather may disrupt your yoga practice, but if you are well enough to work or manage the family you should be well enough to take time for yoga. Yogic postures (asanas) boost the immune system, stimulate the lymphatic system, and clear digestive imbalances that can cause common colds and flulike symptoms.
- Apathy (Styana)- Can’t be bothered? The best way to beat procrastination and lethargy is to take action. A feeling of deep satisfaction follows positive proactive responses. Whereas, procrastination often leads to guilt and self-sabotaging bad habits. Don’t you always feel great after a yoga class?
- Doubt (Samshaya)- Is yoga really helping? Does the teacher like me? Giving in to doubt can be a serious obstacle in achieving yogic perfection (sadhana). If you have any doubts in class please ask your teacher. Often her/his response will benefit you and others.
- Heedlessness (Pramada)- Wanting to get immediate results, or results that impress others, are products of the consumer world we live in. Practice, practice, practice. There is no other way to ‘personal perfection’ but through mindful, consistent effort.
- Sloth (Alasya)- Leading a tamasic lifestyle (meat, wine, chocolate … ) results in a sluggish mind and heavy bloated body. Likewise, too much indulgence in worldly enjoyment (bhoga) eventually leads to illness and sickness (roga). A more sattvic diet (fresh fruit, whole grains, and vegetables) helps eliminate slothfulness.
- Dissapation (Avirati)- When we are attached to an outcome or ideal we can lose focus and dissipate vital energy. This means you might think about achieving a particular asana or meditation result, instead of staying mindful of the practice itself. When we observe ourselves mindfully during practice we can gain essential lessons and insights.
- False Vision (Bhranti-Darshana)- This is when you think you are a ‘true’ yogi by wearing branded yoga clothes, carrying a branded mat, and having selfies of you in aesthetically pleasing yoga postures on your Facebook page. However, this has nothing to do with yoga and everything to do with narcissism and egoism. Once you move past the limitations of the external image of self and start deepening your practice and can see yourself as a true reflection of the universe.
- Nonattainment of the Stages (Alabha-Bhumikatva) – Dwelling on negative thoughts and attitudes, or taking ourselves too seriously, can cloud perception of our unfolding yogic abilities. Similarly, giving up on regular practice impacts upon our yogic development and stops us from reaching our full potential as well-rounded, fully-conscious human beings. Yogic is a lifetime commitment.
- Instability (Anavasthitatva) This means getting the wobbles as you gain depth in your yogic practice. Patanjali states that the ultimate stability is found only in the transcendental Self. Yoga helps to transform our lower nature by achieving stability in our true nature of conscious universal beings. See thyself as true.
(picture by Ali)