Last Updated: February 16, 2017

Definition - What does Samsaya mean?

Samsaya is a Sanskrit word that means “doubt.” It is an important concept in yoga because, in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, Sutra 1:30, Patanjali lists samsaya as one of the 10 obstacles on the yoga path. Other obstacles include frustration and sadness, for example.

Yogis suggest that samsaya is a natural part of the process of yoga and reflects the fact that life is filled with uncertainty. It is a universal obstacle, and one which is experienced by all yogis at some point on their yogic and spiritual journey. Its presence is, therefore, not a bad thing; but, rather, something which can ultimately strengthen a yoga practice if tackled appropriately. Samsaya is countered with self-belief, faith and a determination to move forward.

Yogapedia explains Samsaya

Samsaya is recognized as something that can be a confusing and unpleasant experience for a yogi, and one which feels personal, even though it is actually experienced by all. This is considered to be the result of the ego personalizing the struggle as a way of deterring the yogi from experiencing true unity and oneness.

Ways around or through samsaya are to become more grounded in a yoga practice, and continue to practice yoga with honesty and focus. The more concentration and an attitude of non-attachment that's cultivated, the easier it is said to be to overcome samsaya. It is also helped by a greater yearning to follow a spiritual path.

Some say that at times of intense samsaya, an effective way to get through it is to be in the presence of a guru. Yogis believe gurus can inspire the faith and strength to progress on a spiritual path.

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