[B]I, 30 vyadhi styana samsaya pramada alasya avirati bhrantidarsana alabdha-bhumikatva anavasthitatva citta viksepah te antarayah
I, 31 duhkha daurmanasya angamejayatva svasa prasvasa viksepa sahbhuvah
disrupt and scatter the mind ?
dissipation due to excess craving,
lack of the concentration
necessary to achieve
these distractions are
and disturbed inhalation and exhalation.[/b]
Iyengar divides the first set of distractions into four categories:
- the physical: disease, dullness (sluggishness)
- the mental: doubt, negligence (carelessness), laziness, sense gratification (excess craving)
- the intellectual: delusion
- the spiritual: lack of perseverance (lack of concentration), instability.
The next set of obstacles are further classified by Iyengar as self-inflicted or caused by another or caused by fate (genetic defects) and phenomena beyond our understanding.
Sw. Satchidananda explains that the first set of obstacles are purposely placed in our way, ?..they are there to make us understand and express our own capacities. We all have that strength, but we don?t seem to know it. We seem to need to be challenged and tested in order to understand our own capacities?. (p51) However, the second set of obstacles result from our daily activities, movements, associations and diet which can be tamasic or rajasic. If our external, worldly life is sattvic, then it will help us in our spiritual journey and we will be better able to focus, concentrate and meditate.
These sutras are particularly pertinent to me at this point in my life. Prior to my recent move, I was living a fairly austere and simple lifestyle, since I had to complete a large amount of work in a short period of time. My responsibilities were limited to myself and the room that I was occupying. Since I had moved to a new city, my distractions were limited. There was my work and my spiritual practice. Now that I am reunited with my husband and my pets and am living in my own home, the distractions have multiplied immensely. Sharing a life with someone who is so in this world has been difficult to navigate, especially after such an intense period of spiritual practice. In addition, having a new and different job in a foreign country has been quite challenging…so my mind has been spinning sometimes out of control and I have been pulled in many directions. Consequently, I had lost focus and my practice has dissipated.
Slowly, things are moving in a forward direction. The practice of self-study or svadhyaya helps me to resolve doubt and uncover delusion. The practice of self-discipline helps me to counteract laziness, dullness, and aids in concentration. However, key to me becoming grounded again, was the insight that Mukunda provided us (3 March, 2007, London, SYT Workshop) that only when dharma (duty), artha (abundance) and kama (pleasure) are balanced and sattvic, then the desire for moksha (liberation) arises. Therefore, I necessarily need to meet the challenge of balancing the first three responsibilities, in order to progress spiritually.
Iyengar, B.K.S., Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. New Delhi, India: Harper Collins Publications India. 1993
Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Buckingham, VA: Integral Yoga Publications. 2004
Stiles, M., Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Boston, MA: Red Wheel/Weiser LLC. 2002.