9 disruptive forces in yoga sadhana

There is a good reason why a prudent guru would prescribe a sadhana based on what he or she knows is best for the student’s unique constitution. That is because any deviation can only create problems. However, not all of us are fortunate enough to have such a guru so it’s good we have some awareness as to what is really happening when things go awry in our practice.

keep to a single tattwa

The Patanjali Yoga Sutras highlight 9 disruptive forces of consciousness on the yogic path. These disruptions are said to come as our bodies and psyche undergo changes due to our yogic practices. These disruptions can manifest as ailments or a sense of dis-ease and they are all caused by a change in one’s metabolism and biorhythms as we become increasingly alchemified. Stomach disorders, disrupted sleep patterns, and dullness are some of the ailments mentioned by Patanjali. It seems these are due to changes in glandular secretions as we move consistently inwards in our meditation practices. There is a solution to these disruptions and it is to return to the original sadhana as prescribed by your guru.

The 9 disruptive forces are:

disease – vyādhi

dullness – styāna

doubt – samśaya

procrastination – pramāda

laziness – ālasya

craving – avirati

erroneous perception – bhrāntidarśana

inability to achieve finer stages – alabdhabhūmikatva

instability – anavasthitatva

Other accompanying symptoms, or sahabhuvaḥ:

pain – duḥkha

depression – daurmanasya

shaking of the body – aṅgamejayatva

distraction – vikṣepa

The solution is to return to the original intended practice without altering any of its elements. We are advised to return the practice to “a single tattwa” or, “singular practice”. Now you know why a prudent guru or teacher would suggest, just do it don’t run here, there, and everywhere, sampling every new teacher in town and getting nowhere in the end.

For more in-depth reading, please seek out Swami Satyananda Saraswati’s Four Chapters on Freedom. It’s one of the most readable commentary on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.