This week we continue with the five hindrances. The five hindrances are common mental states that arise in our practice and lives that can impede our practice. They have been observed and taught as part of Buddhist studies.
In teaching about the five hindrances, Sharon Salzberg quotes the Buddha, he says, “Our minds are naturally radiant and pure, our minds are shining. It is because of visiting forces that we suffer.”
The five hindrances (grasping, aversion, sleepiness, restlessness and doubt), are guests in our home. They are just visitors. Sharon Salzberg says that they may visit a lot or even continuously, but they are still visitors.
Naturally, as human beings, we become identified with these visitors and we take them personally. We think we are right or wrong, good or bad depending on who is showing up at our house on any given day. When we see ourselves as bad and horrible, these states pull us in and distort our perception and make us stuck. However, they are not personal, they are normal things that happen to us as human beings.
This week we are focusing on restlessness or worry. Restlessness shows up as anxiety and energy in your body and repeating or excessive thoughts in your mind. You may feel agitated, anxious and nervous, as if you can’t sit still. You might feel as if your mind is racing. You may experience a pattern of worry, doubt or fear or a negative cycle of thought that just keeps going.
The point is that restlessness or worry has both a physical and mental quality to it. Restlessness is completely normal and it is not personal. We can bring a quality of steadiness to restlessness through our physical asanas and calm our mind through concentration and that is the intention of today’s yoga class. We will practice yoga postures that help us create space away from thought and strongly ground us into our legs and feet.
Props Needed: blocks, yoga strap, yoga bolster, wall, blanket
Yoga Postures/Asanas: Bridge Pose or Setu Bandhasana, Half Happy Baby Pose or Ardha Ananda Balasana, Anjaneyasana or Lunge Pose, Mudra for Emotional Balance, Chair Pose or Utkatasana, Warrior One or Virabhadrasana One, Warrior Three or Virabhadrasana Three, Dolphin Pose or Makarasana, Locust or Salabhasana, Marichyasana, Paschimottanasana or Seated Forward Fold , Savasana or Corpse Pose
Metta Hour Podcast with Sharon Salzberg The Five Hindrances: Click Here
Jack Kornfield: Bringing Home the Dharma: Awakening Right Where You Are
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
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Today’s question to answer in the comments is: What do you do when you experience restlessness and worry?
If you would like a list of the antidotes to the five hindrances enter your email address below and I will send you a list of the 5 hindrances and their antidotes.
If you would like more support in relieving restlessness and worry I highly recommend our most watched class in our membership community, Yoga for Anxiety. 70 min class
According to yoga and ayurveda, anxiety is a vatta disturbance an indication that our air element is out of balance and can be brought back into balance by grounding. It is totally natural for those with a strong vatta constitution to easily feel anxious, worried or overwhelmed. When experiencing anxiety it feels as though life is out of your control. Nervousness, apprehension and dread can be related to dishonoured fears so it can be useful to take a good, honest look at what is bothering you with a qualified therapist. This yoga practice will focus on grounding through gentle rooting yoga and breathing practices to ground and balance your anxious mind.
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