1.31 – Those disturbances are accompanied by suffering, depression, anxiety, and uneven breathing.

दुःखदौर्मनस्याङ्गमेजयत्वश्वासप्रश्वासाः विक्षेपसहभुवः ॥३१॥

duhkha daurmanasya angamejayatva shvasa prashvasah vikshepa sahabhuva

  • duhkha – suffering; misery; grief; distress; pain; unease
  • daurmanasya – depression; despair; melancholy
  • angamejayatva – anxiety; trembling of the body; restlessness
  • shvasa – inhalation; breath; respiration
  • prashvasah – exhalation
  • vikshepa – distractions; scattering; disruptions; disturbances
  • sahabhuva – accompanied by; joined; connected; counterpart of

We often don’t recognize our descent into lower states, especially in the beginning stages of practice. We don’t notice an obstacle surfacing until it hits us head-on. This sutra gives us some signs to look out for that tell us we’re approaching trouble.

The nine obstacles create disturbances in our field of consciousness. We witness the effects of those disturbances in our bodies as suffering, despair, anxiety, and uneven breathing.

The opposite of this is the natural feeling we enjoy when no disturbances are present. In that state, we experience happiness, optimism, peace, and refined and balanced breathing.

We can use this knowledge by checking in on ourselves throughout the day. Are we relaxed, poised, and open? Or are we holding tension? Is our breathing calm and steady, or is it erratic? Are our thoughts creative and uplifting, or are they harmful and destructive? Are we happy, or are we suffering in some way?

Again, the breath is an excellent diagnostic tool, as are the areas of the heart and gut where we tend to hold tension and feel anxiety. The more we sensitize ourselves to the effects of the disturbances, the faster we can move beyond them and continue along the path.

The next series of sutras will show us how to remove the obstacles and return to our natural, tranquil state of being.