Staying motivated to yoga or any long term committed practice can be difficult. Yoga and meditation in particular can throw us curlies because they make us stop and reflect on our inner world. This can be amazing, but also at times incredibly confronting.I know when my mum died that I used to cry daily at my practice. This was cathartic, but I also found it hard because I was confronting the grief buried deep within my body. Other long held griefs also surfaced at this time, compounding and confronting but ultimately cleansing.
Anyway the ancient yogis have got this covered and Patanjali’s yoga sutras (ancient yogic wisdom) outlines 9 common barriers that may arise along the path of personal growth and a committed yoga/meditation practice. I’ve tried to summarise these for you, and if you are interested you can check out the Yoga Sutras on this site for a more detailed explanation.
1. Disease – lack of self care which leads to self inflicted disease both mental and physical – Vyadhi
2. Dullness – sense of ambivalence or a who gives a sh*t attitude about our practice – Styana
3. Doubt – lack of confidence in our self. Not recognising and acknowledging our own self worth – Samshaya.
4. Carelessness – neglect and inattention that steers us off track from our desired destination i.e. practicing – Pramada.
5. Laziness – being over tired, lethargic or exhausted because we have overdone it. Too many late nights, too much activity and not enough time for rest and recovery will lead to apathy to practice – Alasya.
6. Sensuality – Allowing ourselves to be controlled by our senses; giving into excess in order to block out unpleasantness – Avirati.
7. False perception – letting our perceptions and the sometimes obnoxious voice in our head take over and be the driver, instead of viewing the information objectively and mindfully and assessing its worth – Bhrantidarshana.
8. Failing to reach firm ground – when we reach plateaus with our practice, it makes perseverance tricky day after day and over time we can lose our resolve to face the challenge and continue – Alabdbhumikatva.
9. Slipping down from the ground gained – failing to maintain all that we have gained through our practice – Anavasthitatva.
I’m betting all of us has experienced at least one of these. For me numbers 5, 7 and 8 rear their head from time to time. The first step to overcoming these challenges is by becoming aware of them. The more we are able to practice meditation and yoga at times when life is going smoothly, the easier it becomes to be mindful of these challenges and choose to take action – easier said than done.