Yoga Sutras and Life

Yoga is a huge part of my life both on and off my yoga mat. When I feel blockages in my life (or in my practice) or I am hit with life’s challenges, I am always guided and challenged to grow when I reflect on the wisdom written in the ancient yogic texts.

All of us experience obstacles at some stage as we journey along our chosen paths. And truthfully if we didn’t meet any obstacles, then nothing would truly force us to delve inwards, to overcome challenges and to really get to know ourselves on a deeper level.

A path with no obstacles would probably take us to a dead end!

In sacred ancient yogic texts, sage Patanjali, often described as the Father of Yoga’, composed 196 yogic sutras, one of which is titled the “9 obstacles to yoga practise.”

The more I practise yoga and dig deeper into the philosophy, the more I find that these ‘9 obstacles to yoga’ help me to reflect on my daily life. They define these many obstacles not just in a yoga practise terms, but in theoretical terms that affect daily life. They help me to recognise my weaknesses, encourage me not to run away from pain, but to work with what is truly going on.  

They help me to regain more focus and clarity than ever before

I hope these yoga sutras can be of some guidance to you too. Print them off and put them on the back of your toilet door. It is amazing what insights they may just give you one day. 

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras- the 9 obstacles to yoga

  1. Vyadhi: Physical illness 
  2. Styana: Lack of interest or enthusiasm
  3. Samshaya: Doubt or indecision 
  4. Pramada: Carelessness or negligence 
  5. Alasya: Physical laziness 
  6. Avirati: Desire for sense objects 
  7. Bhrantidarshana: Living under illusion or wrong understanding
  8. Alabdhabhumikatva: Missing the point or inability to hold on to what is achieved 
  9. Anavasthitatva: Inability to maintain the achieved progress