Book 1, Sutra 31: Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra
“PAIN, MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL UNEASE, PHYSICAL TREMBLING, UNCONSCIOUS BREATHING AND EXCITED BREATHING ARE SYMPTOMS OF A DISTRACTED MIND.”
In Sanskrt, these 4 symptoms are “dukha,” “daur-manasya,” “angam-ejayatva” and “shvasa-prashvasa.” They include physical pain, depression, body shakes, loss of attention to our breathing and uncontrolled panicky or short forceful breathing. As Vishnudevananda says “these are the outward manifestations of the inward state [of mental distraction].” He then makes the mistake, however, of connecting these states directly to the obstacles: “They are the result of the above-mentioned [listed in the previous sutra] obstacles to meditation.” As I explained earlier, however, these states of pain and duress are not the direct results of the obstacles. They are the result of becoming distracted by the obstacles. The obstacles cause distraction and the distraction allows these states of pain, depression, shakiness and loss of attention to breathing to enter into the yogi’s experience.
This sutra implies that when our attention or mental focus is solid and we do not get distracted from our practice [which means our vairagya or detachment is established] we don’t experience any of these states. The undistracted yogi is therefore free of pain, emotional despair, physical shakiness, inattention to breath and panicky breath. If we have faith in Patanjali and his yogic instructions then, we can use this sutra to develop an intensity of attention to our practice, knowing that if we do so we can reach a trouble-free state of being.
Posted on February 8, 2016, in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras and tagged depression, despair, distraction of the mind, excitation, fear, fight or flight mechanism, pain, panic, results of obstacles, trembling. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.