July 11, 2020

Sutra 1.31: Falling Down

Samadhi Pada: Yoga of Being in the Now

    1.31 Duhkha daurmanasya angamejayatva svasaprasvasah viksepa sahabhuvah
    • duhkha = pain / suffering / grief
    • daurmanasya = depression / mental agitation / frustration / despair
    • angamejayatva = trembling of the body / nervousness / restlessness
    • svasaprasvasah = agitated or laboured breathing
    • viksepa = distractions
    • sahabhuvah = accompany

There's no denying . . . . 2020 has been a pretty crap year! So many things thrown at us all in different ways. If one thing hasn't affected us, then something else seems to show up as if it's a year that wants to throw all of us out of our comfort zones! The goal of yoga is to have a steady mind, be present, know that we are not the chaos and drama around us even when sh@! is hitting the fan! We all fall down sometimes and when things get tough, it's easy to fall back into our default patterns (whatever they may be for you), but this practice asks us to instead step back and observe. 

Sutra 1.31 is very closely tied to the previous sutra. In sutra 1.30, Patanjali gave us a list (did I mention that I love that he loves lists!) of nine types of obstacles that can throw us off our centre (a review of those in a moment). Now, most of these obstacles tend to be mental which means we can't always see them. Sometimes we're so used to living with these obstacles that we don't always recognize that they've clouded our mental clarity and taken us away from presence. So, sutra 1.31 dives in to give us another list of four symptoms that are relatively easy to notice in ourselves as a kind of flag telling us to step back, observe what's going on and adjust. Based on this sutra, the symptoms that indicate we are off centre include:

  1. pain 
  2. depression 
  3. trembling of the body (think about pushing too far in your asana practice, or something such as having a panic attack or anxiety off the mat) 
  4. agitated breathing (again think about pushing too far in your asana practice, or being worked up or in distress off the mat)
Notice any of these things happening to you? We practice yoga so that in these times we're somewhat prepared to stop, breath and readjust. In the next few sutras that we'll look at over the following weeks, Patanjali gives us specific techniques to make our way back to a calm, equanimous centre. For now, let's take this opportunity to look back at sutra 1.30 to see the list of the obstacles that could be causing these symptoms and use the idea of a setback instead as an opportunity to reflect on what we might do if the situation arises. Living in and asking questions creates opportunities for growth and possibility and as Albert Einstein said "In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunities."

Distractions that create obstacles (based on sutra 1.30) and questions you could ask yourself about them:
  • illness - Do I need more rest? Is there something I need to change?
  • mental laziness - Do I need more accountability or support?
  • doubt - How can I be more compassionate towards myself? How can I cultivate trust?
  • carelessness - What am I not seeing or avoiding?
  • idleness - What is my focus? What do I want?
  • over indulgence - Do I feel I am lacking something? Why?
  • false assumptions - Where am I closed off? What other opinions and perceptions can I listen to with an open mind?
  • inability to be grounded - Are my basic needs taken care of? How can I feel safe?
  • inability to maintain a steady practice - What is my why?

Your work for this week is to notice your challenges, identify if you are showing any of the four symptoms and then reflect on what obstacles may be present and what questions you could ask yourself to turn this obstacle into an opportunity. Asana may be the "fun" part of yoga, but this inner work is where the true power of this practice resides! Now . . . . let's get to work!

Sutra 1.31 These distractions (from the last sutra) are accompanied by pain, 
depression, trembling of the body/nervousness and agitated breathing.

No comments:

Post a Comment