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The Obstacles in Practice

Yoga Chikitsa "yoga therapy",  is the practice of using yoga to treat and prevent medical conditions. It incorporates breathing techniques, meditation, and mindfulness, and other lifestyle changes like diet, sleep hygiene, and activities outside of the lessons themselves to bring the body/mind back into a state of healthy and balance. In all major Ayurvedic texts Yoga Chikitsa is defined as the application of consciousness" or "caring", used to correct imbalances or manage specific illnesses. Within the Ashtanga lineage ‘Yoga Chikitsa’ is defined as Primary Series, a series of postures threaded together with the aim to purify the body of illness, specifically the gut, liver, spleen and joints of the body. This practice when done regularly can help people develop:

  • a positive state of health by treating illness, 

  • builds strength and flexibility in the body, 

  • loosen tight muscles,

  • stabilize loose joints,

  • align the body for ease of posture, supporting a free flow of breath 

  • realign and detoxify the body and nervous system

We do all this through Tapas, or the heat generated by linking breath and movement. Tapas is defined in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali as the means by which impurities are destroyed. These impurities are that which can get in the way of Sadhana, manifesting as these 9 obstacles. 

Through tapas the inner instrument becomes purified and the body and sense organs are perfected.


“the perfection of the body and sense organs is due to intensity in spiritual practice, being the elimination of impurities” - sutra 2.43


Falling out of practice can happen very fast, if we are not paying attention, so we must always be vigilant. Here are some ways we can prevent slipping away:

  • Have a teacher

  • Be part of a sangha

  • Know the lifestyle choices that lead us into dis-ease

Here are some of the things that will naturally lead us into a state of dis-ease:

  • eating  greasy, heavy, or stale foods, meat, 

  • exposure to violence, 

  • overconsumption of alcohol, drugs, 

  • Negativity

  • Overindulgence

  • Too much sleep

When we are in this state we are unlikely to:

  • feel positive, energized, or clear in head

To remove this dullness, density:

  • Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables 

  • Practice daily 

  • Reduce your sleep

  • Practice pranayamas like nadi shodhana, bhastrika, and kapalbhati to boost of prana

  • Practice meditation - metta or walking meditations

  • Get out into nature

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