Back to yoga this week – hurray! Loving April. We have robins nesting in the leylandii and I think the blackbirds are moving in too. I would love a hedgerow type arrangement but the birds seem happy with it.
This term we are continuing our introduction to the antarāyā or obstacles to yoga. I am using Peter Hersnack’s ideas where he groups the nine antarāyā into three: problems with support, issues around energy and issues around direction. We began to explore support through āsana and prānāyāma. The first three antarāyā are:
- vyādhi – illness, loss of support
- styāna – lethargy, welded to inappropriate support
- saṃśaya – doubt, becoming sure of our support
As last term progressed, I hope you became more aware of the role of internal support. On a physical level we can think of this as somewhere within the core of the body. Energetically, we have previously discussed the concept of puruṣa in relationship to our centre. Puruṣa or ‘the dweller in the city’ is constant but indefinable as opposed to prakṛti which describes all that is material and ever changing. If we come back to centre, we find a support that does not change and is always there; it is not affected by chaos or time.
The next three antarāyā look at issues around energy:
- pramāda – impatience, using energy as your support
- ālasya – fatigue, lack of energy
- avirati – distraction, searching for energy
It has taken me a while to find ways to consider how we approach our individual energy use. Here are some questions to consider in preparation for this term:
- When you are full of energy, do you conserve it or do you use it all up?
- If you feel tired and have the option to rest, do you?
- Do you feel a need to turn off to rest? How do you do that?
I am not sitting from a position of smugness. I am currently at home with a throat infection because I didn’t honour my energy needs. I also have a history of chronic fatigue which is thankfully very much in the past. However, issues around energy are my lesson in life and I know I am not alone!
I was delighted at the end of last term when a student shared that she was struggling with her swimming technique and then took her yoga practice into the pool to ask the question ‘where’s my support?’ Looking forward to a thought provoking term