Yoga Sutras of Patanjali 1:30: Obstacles (distractions) on the path of yoga are sickness,dullness (inertia),
Defining the Sutra
A distraction to staying on the path of yoga is inertia or dullness/styana. The purpose of yoga is to realize that you are not your thoughts or emotions and that you can be happy regardless of the circumstances of your life. For most people to get to this place of freedom , a huge shift has to occur in their heart, mind, and lives. To be resistant to this change, is to be resistant to yoga.
Also change is the nature of the universe. Seasons change. We live and die. It is rainy today and sunny tomorrow. To be uncomfortable with change is to be uncomfortable with life. When we go against the current of life, we create suffering.
Most people who embark on the path of yoga, do so because they were seeking a change in their life. Whether you came to yoga for peace, enlightenment, fun or a workout, there was something in your life that you felt could be enhanced by the practice. In order to have the benefits of yoga permanently, a lifestyle change has to occur. A resistance to this change is inertia or dullness and is an obstacle on the path of yoga.
Modern Day Application:
Signs of Styana/Dullness/Inertia
Self Defeating Thoughts
Reluctance to Commit
Life in Limbo
Stuck in a Rut
Holding on to Rigid Beliefs
Difficulty Dealing with Change
Unwilling to Change
Reluctance to Question One’s Thoughts or Beliefs
Unwilling to Try New Things
Unwilling to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Stopping when things get hard
Where Do We see this in Our Ashtanga Practice?
Making excuses for our practice or lack thereof
An unwillingness to commit to the process, teacher or style of yoga
Having a practice that is in limbo due to an unwillingness to change ones lifestyle or do the required work
Closed off from the teachers advice or unwilling to accept their instruction
Self defeating thoughts about your body or ability to progress or thrive in the practice
Unwilling to move on even when the teacher has recommended it
Closed down to the spiritual side of the practice
An inability to release tension in the body
Breath feels caught
Muscles constantly tight and constricted
Having the same injuries over and over again
Practice not changing us internally
Practice not reflecting into our life
Unwilling to go beyond what is comfortable
Stopping when things get hard
Why This is Important
If you want your life to shift, your actions have to shift. Constantly suffering but being unwilling to change is insanity. Yoga is a path that takes us away from suffering but if we are unwilling to change, the yoga won’t work.
What is changing? Not consciousness. It is constant. As you get a closer connection to the real you, habits that served your ego or false identity fall away. The falling away of the false self appears as change.
Choose your teachers and your yoga based on how it changes you and grows you off the mat. Practice a yoga or find a teacher that forces you to look at your neurosis, not one that helps you to run away from it.