We have spent the year so far looking at the obstacles to a state of yoga – the antaraya (YS1.30). I was asked what they were this morning, they did not trip off the tongue in a long list. Do look at previous blogs to refamiliarise yourself. Perhaps all the antaraya resonate or maybe just one or two show up on a regular basis. I certainly have my favourites when I am in a state of overwhelm.
The antaraya are distractions of the mind. When we are experiencing them we might feel weakness of the limbs and/or disturbed breath, the mind can feel restricted and our well being can be low or even depressed. (YS1.31).
The yoga sutras continue with ways to counter the anataraya. We have to find the way that resonates for us personally. This includes focusing on a single prinicple, regulating the breath particularly the exhale and BK, mastery of the senses, meditating on purusa and the ‘light in the cave of the heart’, being in nature, seeking counsel, looking at our dreams and cultivating a positive attitude towards others (YS1.32-39)
Having found a way or a tool(s) that resonates for you, you have begun to work towards direction rather than distraction, a state of yoga. But it does not finish there. It is not like paying for a remedy. We need to practice if we want to remain focused or to be aware when we become distracted again, which is inevitable for most of us. When we are busy and overwhelmed, practice becomes more important.
Practice will be different for everyone but my daily practice is yoga. If you already have a yoga practice, perhaps daily, perhaps a handful of times a week, that is great. If you come to class once week – brilliant. This term I wanted to offer all of you the opportunity to practice more than once a week. I have attached a simple practice for you to explore.
When starting practice, what you do is less important than doing it. It will be great to see how you get on.
This is not homework. This is a gift.
(If you already have a personal practice, please continue as you are.)
I will not be checking to see who has or has not accepted this gift. Whether you do or you don’t practice, you can choose whether you want to share your experience with your fellow students or with me or not at all.