What obstructs practice? We know that practice makes perfect! But what are obstacles to the practice?

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In our previous post , we said that Practice makes one Perfect. It so easy to say but difficult to implement! Isn’t it. Everytime we set an alarm for practice, we end up snoozing it and losing time. It is also frustrating when we do not progress much towards our goal. We intellectually reason about it but find it difficult to translate the findings into action. We get excited when we read the stories of Arjuna or Beethoven or Einstein about their countless hours of practice. These stories remain and inspiration and we end up like the fox that said “these are sour grapes”.


Vyadhi: Disease

You took up a jogging routine and left it in 2 days because you caught a cold or you started meditating and after 2 days you had this nausea and stopped meditating. Sounds familiar? Patanjali Maharishi says that disease is an obstacle to progress. A healthy body is a much needed to achieve any meaningful thing in life. Most people who work aggressively to reach the top often cannot enjoy the fruits because they develop ailments and diseases. A well-balanced diet, a simple routine and an inward focus can keep your body healthy.

Styana: Dullness

This typically happens when you are newly taking up an early morning routine. When you try to wake up, say at 5am, for the first few days you experience a dullness of the mind. You feel numb and your cognitive functions work at sub-optimal levels. There is a serious lack of excitement. This is a phase you must cross. If you discontinue prematurely, progress will be a distant dream. Once you overcome this, you feel up and ready!

Samsaya: Doubt 

Doubt is a mental state that is in between two opposite thoughts. You are neither sure of this nor that. Doubts also impact identity and confidence. Psychology says that creating doubts in the minds of young children impact them life-long. It is difficult to keep one step forward when the mind is full of doubts. “Should it do it or not? Will this be helpful? Am I doing the right thing? ”

Objective questioning can help you reason out and resolve issues but doubts are big hurdle.

Pramada: Procrastination

Kabir beautifully said ” काल करे सो आज कर, आज करे सो अब । पल में प्रलय होएगी,बहुरि करेगा कब”.  (Kaal kare so aaj kar, aaj kare so ab, pal me pralay hoyegi, bahuri karega kab”. What is to be done tomorrow, do it today! What is to be done today, do it now! If time passes away, how will the work get done! So profound isn’t it. However, sympathizers of procrastination often believe that as long as the work get done, we shouldn’t worry about when it is done. But we know that for most things, it doesn’t work that way. Psychology research says that procrastination finally results in higher stress levels, poor performance and low quality output. It also results in anxiety and guilt.

Alasya: Laziness

We are so familiar with this! This seems to be the main reason for most of are half-done or not-done tasks-washing clothes, cleaning the house, yoga in the morning or journal writing in the night. Except in certain conditions like ADHD, laziness does not have a positive impact on people. It is seen as a manifestation of low-esteem, lack of motivation and a general dullness in life.

Avirati: Lack of Renunciation

When we indulge too much in something, we forget that we had a goal in mind and the practice is dumped. It takes a long time to remember and get back to practice. Our thinking pattern, preferences etc would have been changed because of the indulgence and it makes practice all the more difficult with the changed conditions. Hence renouncing these indulgences especially when we have a goal in mind helps a lot.


Patanjali Maharishi suggests 3 more obstacles namely Bhrantidarshana: wrong perception, alabdhabhumikatva: inability to achieve finer stages and anavasthitatva: instability.



Anaadi Foundation is a socio-spiritual organization dedicated to self-unfoldment of individuals