The Nine Antarayas: Impediments to Progress in Practice

January 22, 2014    BY Yoga International

In Yoga Sutra 1.30, Patanjali lists nine antarayas, the deep-seated impediments to spiritual progress. As you move through a purashcharana (practice of repeating a mantra a specific number of times a day for a set time period), you will face some or all of these obstacles head-on. Ironically, a purashcharana is also one of the most profound and direct methods for overcoming them.

1. Sickness: imbalances among the various constituents of the body and the mind.

2. Disinclination: the mind turns away from practice because of habitual procrastination, mental restlessness, and a general lack of enthusiasm for practice.

3. Doubt: the mind vacillates between trust and mistrust in what has been taught; faith and lack of faith in the efficacy of practice; conviction and lack of conviction regarding the methods our teachers have given.

4. Carelessness: negligence in giving full attention to practice; as a result, mistakes and omissions undermine the efficacy of our work.

5. Sloth: a tendency to avoid exertion and fall back on a love of comfort and mental ease.

6. Non-abstinence: being overwhelmed by the pull of the senses and thus failing to maintain balance in the midst of worldly life.

7. Delusion: making errors in understanding and judgment, primarily regarding practice; the mind thus accepts a mistaken point of view.

8. Failure to gain ground: despite considerable practice, a level of achievement is not mastered; this may be because the prerequisites of practice need more attention or because further effort is required.

9. Instability: a certain level of attainment is achieved, but is not maintained; this results from practice that is not consistent and from the unsteadiness of the ground previously attained.

Yoga International
This content is presented by one or more of the talented and dedicated staff members that we've been blessed to work with throughout the years.