Against Your Better Judgment
A few days ago I came across an article that talks about akrasia, an unknown word to me. In the article, the author compares it to procrastination. This word I know! I am even guilty of it--putting off until later that which could be done now. Akrasia is slightly different. It is acting against your better judgment —doing one thing while knowing you should be doing something else. I’m sure you can relate to some of these examples:
- You know you should be sleeping instead of watching another episode of your favorite TV show
- You know you should not be having a second helping of dessert; you’ll regret it tomorrow when folding forward
- You know you should be on your mat instead of hitting the snooze button
Procrastination and akrasia prevent us from attaining our goals. As I was reading the article I couldn't help but remember Yoga Sutra 1.30, where Patanjali defines the obstacles of yoga. An obstacle along your path interferes with the outcome. You can say that procrastination and akrasia are obstacles; they prevent you from following through with your plans.
Yoga Sutra 1.30: "Disease, dullness, doubt, carelessness, laziness, sensuality, false perception, failure to reach firm ground and slipping from the ground gained - these distractions of the mind-stuff are the obstacles." The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - Translation by Sri Swami Satchidananda
Greek philosophers, Socrates and Aristotle, wrote specifically about akrasia. Patanjali, however, warns us about the many obstacles we will encounter along our path--nine to be exact. He even says that they are normal. He tells us we will stumble upon them and that doing so is an indication that we are on the correct path.
You will undoubtedly encounter obstacles, not only in your yoga practice but in many other areas of your life. This doesn’t mean that you should entertain each obstacle every time you come across one. The idea is to realize that the path is not easy. There is real work and effort that goes into staying on track and attaining your goals. Being aware that obstacles exist will help you overcome them and help you stay on track.
Lots of love,