There are nine types of interruptions to developing mental clarity: illness, mental stagnation, doubts, lack of foresight, fatigue, overindulgence, illusions about one’s true state of mind, lack of perseverance, and regression. They are obstacles because they create mental disturbances and encourage distractions.
As this sutra states, there are disturbances and road blocks to becoming a dedicated yogi. I, for one, am thankful that these problems have been admitted to, discussed and outlined. I can determine and expect what will come up as I move toward a more yogic life. Knowing what could happen helps me to prepare for those times and I can provide myself with options before these things even happen. It’s a bit like preparing for the worst case scenario so that at the moment it arrives (if ever) I have options and choices available to me – rather than reacting strictly on impulse. Providing myself choices when obstacles arise will help me move closer to my goal.