Yoga Sutra - Samādhi Pada 1.30
व्याधिस्त्यानसंशयप्रमादालस्याविरतिभ्रान्तिदर्शनालब्धभूमिकत्वानवस्थितत्वानि चित्तविक्षेपास्तेऽन्तरायाः ॥३०॥
vyādhi-styāna-saṃśaya-pramāda-ālasya-avirati-bhrānti-darśana-alabdha-bhūmikatva-anavasthitatvāni citta-vikṣepāḥ te-antarāyāḥ ||30||
These disturbances are disease, idleness, doubt, carelessness, sloth, lack of detachment, misapprehension, failure to attain a base for concentration, and instability. They are distractions for the mind.
Patañjali lists the disturbances he indicated in the previous sūtra are removed by devotion to Īśvara. We use “disturbances” here for antarāya (literally, that which intervenes) rather than “obstacles,” since the latter term is often used for the kleśas, which are far more permanent and deep-rooted than the antarāyas listed in this sūtra. Vyāsa notes that these nine disturbances occur along with the vṛttis, the changing states of the mind, and if these disturbances were removed, there would be no vṛttis, and thus the goal of yoga, the cessation of all vṛttis, would be accomplished. He proceeds to define these interruptions. In accordance with the traditional theoretical understanding underpinning āyurvedic medicine, he considers disease, vyādhi, the first item on the list, to be an imbalance of the bodily fluids, or an imbalance of the doṣas, the three humors of Āyurveda (kapha, vāta, and pitta). In other words, disease occurs when one of these is in excess of its requirements. Idleness, styāna, is the disinclination of the mind toward work; a sort of mental paralysis, says Śaṅkara. Following the Nyāya school, doubt, saṁśaya, is taken as the consideration of two sides of an issue and thinking, “It might be this way, if not, it might be that way” (or, as Bhoja Rāja quips, “Is the practice of yoga doable or not?!”).
Carelessness, pramāda, is lacking the foundations to practice samādhi, presumably a reference to neglecting the eight limbs of yoga, which will be discussed in Chapters II and III (a lack of persistence, says Śaṅkara). Sloth, ālasya, is lack of effort in mind and body due to heaviness (which is caused by kapha, excess phlegm, says Vācaspati Miśra). Lack of detachment, avirati, is mental greed due to the mind contemplating the sense objects (due to past addictions, says Śaṅkara), a theme discussed at length in texts such as the Gītā (II.44). Misapprehension, bhrānti–darśana, is mistaken knowledge, like mistaking mother-of-pearl for silver, says Bhoja Rāja. (Śaṅkara considers this to be misconceptions about the yoga path itself). Failure to attain a base for concentration, alabdha–bhūmikatva, is failure to attain a state of samādhi. Finally, instability, an–avasthitatva, is the inability to maintain any such state that one might attain; only when samādhi is maintained will the mind be stable. Vijñānabhikṣu quotes a verse in this latter regard: “Even an elevated yogī can fall down due to worldly attachments; what to speak, then of a neophyte yogī?”207 One is reminded of the Gītā’s comment that “the senses are so strong, that they forcefully carry away the mind even of a discriminating person who is striving to control them” (II.60).
These disturbances, concludes Vyāsa, are the impurities of yoga, its enemies and obstacles produced by rajas and tamas. They are called disturbances, antarāya, says Śaṅkara, because they move, aya, and make a gap, antara, in one’s practice.