aṅgamejayatva

(‘shaking of limbs’)

Patañjali, the great master of the yoga system, recognizes that the principle ‘prevention is better than cure’ can be and should be applied in the path of yoga also. To facilitate its practice, he has listed nine ‘antarāyas’ or obstacles to yoga (Yoga-sūtras 1.30) and has added another five in a supplementary list (ibid. 1.31). He calls these as ‘vikṣepasahabhuvaḥ’ (co-existing with mental distractions). Aṅgamejayatva is the third obstacle in this list.

‘Aṅga’ means limb and ‘ejana’ means shaking. So aṅgamejayatva is shaking or restless movement of limbs. When sorrow, disappointment and despair are not sublimated by discrimination and will-power, they cause tremendous restlessness in the mind. This affects the nervous system, getting reflected in physical restlessness. The aspirant is thus unable to sit steadily on the seat and frequently changes his position. Persisting in the practice of yoga, repetition of praṇava (Oṁ) and an attitude of surrender to God will gradually lessen this disturbance.