The Symptoms of the Obstacles-

Sutra 1:31 dukha daurmanasya angam-ejayatva shvasa prashvasah vikshepa sahabhuva

The above give rise to stress responses that cause, physical suffering (dukha) and mental distractions (vikshepa).

The distracted condition of the mind in which it is constantly flung about in all directions, away from the centre, is called Viksepa.

After having mentioned the conditions which cause distraction or mental wandering (Viksepa) in the previous sutra, in this Sutra, the symptoms by which the presence of distraction can be recognized is elucidated.

Since this condition of the distracted mind is the opposite of that which is needed for the practice of Yoga, we have to understand clearly the nature of distraction, and the means to avoid it.

  • 1 Anxiety, restlessness, shakiness and tremors (angam-ejayatva)

    Anxiety is the first sign of some serious mental defect or disharmony. Anxiety is accompanied by restlessness, shakiness and tremors. This is quite common and is often seen where people rock back and forth trying to sooth themselves or you will see them shaking their feet or legs like a spring. Most times they are not even aware of what they are doing.

  • 2 Irregularities in the exhalation and inhalation of breath (shvasa-prashvasah)

    Before proficiency in concentration, and meditation can be achieved, regulation of breath has to be attained. Irregularities in breathing pattern occurs when one is angry or anxious. We humans spend all our time in the Drive and Affiliation zone where desire and frustration run amuk, but it is not the desire that must be given up, but our attachment to selfish desires.

    It is the fierce and compulsive craving that demands to be satiated at the cost of suffering to all others for the sole gratification of the Ego is what needs to be vanquished.

  • 3 Sadness, despair, melancholy, depression, anguish or dejection are known as (daurmanasya) which result in despair, despair then leads to nervousness and the process starts over again.

    In the end, it is our selfish craving that gives us the feeling of separateness from life. When this craving is extinguished, the mask of our petty and transient self falls revealing our real self.

    Work hard in the world without any selfish attachment to anything and you will purify your consciousness through the power of self will resulting in a state of Nirvana.

    No one can maintain the state of perfect calmness at all times. Usually one oscillates between short visits to the Parasympathetic Nervous System characterised by tranquility and then back to the Sympathetic Nervous System of Fight or Flight and Drive for Survival and Affiliation.

    The idea is to persist in your practice through careful monitoring and regulation of your mental state and meditation. As your practice matures, you will find yourself spending more time in a tranquil state of mind free from anger, anxiety, hatred, and ill-will.

  • 1.31 dukha daurmanasya angam-ejayatva shvasa prashvasah vikshepa sahabhuva
  • duhkha - pain (mental or physical)

  • daurmanasya - sadness, despair, dejection, frustration, depression, anguish

  • angam-ejayatva - shakiness, unsteadiness, movement, tremor of the limbs or body (anga = limbs or body)

  • shvasa - inhalation, inspiration (implying irregular inhalation)

  • prashvasah - exhalation, expiration (implying irregular exhalation)

  • vikshepa - distractions

  • sahabhuva - companions, accompaniments, correlates

  • References
  • Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

    Sutra 1:31
    by I. K. TAIMNI