As we pursue the realization of set goals in life, we come across multiple obstacles. They stand in the way of achieving our objectives. Words like hindrances, hardships, impediments, challenges, stumbling blocks, complications, difficulties, etc., all express the concept of obstacles.
Obstacles in life would include lack of focus and dedication, fear, low self-esteem, procrastination, rejection, and many more.
Yoga as a pursuit in life is no different. Our goal in Yoga is to have a comfortable body without pains, a free flow of breath, and an alert mind. But even Yogis experience obstacles that disrupt the functioning of the Chitta and weaken our practice.
These obstacles are nine in number and are called Antaraaya in Yoga Sutra (1:30).
They are identified as: 1. Vyaadhi: Disease. 2. Styaana: Idleness 3. Sanshaya: Indecisiveness 4. Pramaada: Carelessness 5. Aalasya: Inactiveness 6. Avirati: Lack of Detachment 7. Bhraanti Darshana: Flawed Views 8. Alabdha-Bhoomikatwa: Ungroundedness 9. Ana-was-thi-tatwa: Regression.
All the nine obstacles listed above can stop us from our progress while we seek to practice the discipline of calming our minds. The disease causes physical suffering and emotional distress. Idleness results in a lack of productivity, and a negative impact on mental and physical health. Indecisiveness not only affects the individual but also disrupts team dynamics and delays collective progress. Carelessness is often linked to accidents, errors, or oversights that can have significant negative consequences. Sometimes, it’s the small things we overlook that can lead to bigger problems. Being mindful, paying attention to detail, and taking responsibility for our actions can help reduce the potential for destructive outcomes caused by carelessness. Inactiveness (or inactivity) can lead to physical, mental, intellectual, and spiritual stagnation. People who are inactive regress in skills and societal advancement. Lack of Detachment can cloud our judgment, blind us to the reality of a situation, and also lead to intense emotional turmoil. Flawed Views are misguided beliefs. They shape behaviors, policies, and actions that have far-reaching consequences like discrimination and social injustice. They can create barriers to understanding and empathy, fostering division rather than unity. Ungroundedness points to a loss of rootedness. Regression points to slipping backward instead of moving forward. It reverses progress made in the practice of calming the mind.
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