Antarayas in everyday life

Sometimes you might wonder how ancient teachings have any relevance to modern lives.  In fact, I find it almost uncanny how the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, written several hundred years BCE, can seem to be iterating the exact same issues that we face today…with the bonus that he also offers some suggestions of how to help deal with them.

In the Tuesday class this week, we looked at the antarayas, a set of blocks to following the path of yoga.  Remember, yoga is defined as the settling of the mind into silence, so we are talking here about things that stop us from moving towards that place of greater calm.  Modern life can be so busy that this might feel pretty elusive!

What surprises me is that this list of blocks, written so long ago, is pretty much what you might come up with today, if you tried to identify the real reasons that you weren’t making progress towards your goals.  And this list of blocks could be applied to just about any situation where you might be feeling a bit stuck.

The antarayas are attitudes or feelings that come from inside, rather than external pressures, so they are the perfect subject for a mindful meditation on your situation.  Many of them link to a lack of energy, stopping us from making the changes we need.  It can be much easier to stay in your ‘comfort zone’ and grumble, rather than initiate changes that may seem scary.  What we tend to find though, is that if we can make a start we can soon create new and more positive habits, such that we wonder why we didn’t do it much sooner!

Although many people make New Year resolutions, I find I am still caught up in the chill of winter at that time. It’s the arrival of spring that prompts me to start planning and moving forward.  So with the arrival of March and the departure of the snow, what better time to start something new?