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"Counteracting obstacles", by Susana Laborde-Blaj

For a 54 year old woman who grew up with the taste of corn, sunshine all year long and the dry soil of central and northern Mexico, it was a challenge to come back to Northwest Oregon from our last retreat in Guanajuato. I found myself scratching around in my tool box, making an extra effort not to dive into Seasonal Affective Disorder, bouncing like a ping pong ball from anxiety to depression to irritability to sadness, and dragging myself into doing my personal practice, even if I felt gloomy in my soul, and because I felt gloomy in my soul.

How far I feel from what we call the “six treasures”: Tranquility, Self-Restraint, Renunciation, Endurance, Faith and Mental Balance. Probably closer to what we call the “Antarāyas”, the nine impediments or obstacles in our practice, mentioned by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutra-s. Adding a check mark after almost each one of these obstacles as I read this list yesterday made me consider my situation and want to look for a way out.

The list of "Antarāyas" looks like this:

  1. Disease or illness

  2. Being stuck

  3. Self-doubt or lack of confidence

  4. Hasty, impulsive

  5. Absence of passion, lazy

  6. Sensory temptations or preoccupations

  7. Distorted view

  8. Not achieving the level expected

  9. Relapse and regression

I clearly needed to do something, so I opted for this simple list in order to counteract the other one.

To Do's:

  1. Pranayama & Meditation last night before going to sleep

  2. Wake up this AM and get out of bed

  3. Take a shower and wash my hair

  4. Dry my hair with a dryer (the heat feels so nice!)

  5. Have a nice hot tea; then hot cacao with chili powder and species; then my favorite chia & oatmeal cookies

  6. Teach a class and be open to see the students and have fun

  7. Work on updating my website

  8. Celebrate talking to my husband with a smile

  9. Plan: Go to the movies

So my advice today, in case there is some dark corner in your soul, or in case one of those obstacles seems to be blocking your path: make your own attainable list of simple things that can bring some warmth and sunshine to your life.

I’ll keep working on updating mine!

Sunrise at the Mexico Viniyoga Retreat Nov 2017

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