Vital Movements Rising Up During the Practice of the Yoga

Every individual has all the long-established vital movements embedded deep in the nature. When the force of the yoga begins to open up the various energy centers, particularly the vital centers, these movements are stirred and use the opportunity to capitalize on the new energy and try to fulfill themselves. It is essential that the vital centers open to the action of the higher force, and it is quite common that the seeker will have to face the pressure of these lower movements trying to overwhelm him as this occurs. This can take many forms, including the rising of anger, frustration, sexual impulses, greed for food or accumulation of wealth, etc. The sadhak, who has been focused on the spiritual principles is sometimes caught quite unawares when these things suddenly arise, and does not always know what to do, where this is coming from or how to address the issues. In some cases, it leads the seeker to identify it with himself and believe that it is an incapacity or deficiency in himself that leads to it. Sri Aurobindo makes it clear that, on the contrary, this is a more universal phenomenon and should not be looked at as a personal failure. The more the seeker can disassociate from personal ‘ownership’ of the movements, the easier it will be to address these forces and bring them under proper management, redirecting the energy into the proper channels and avoiding or overcoming the old movements as they try to arise.

Sri Aurobindo notes: “The exacerbation of certain vital movements is a perfectly well-known phenomenon in yoga and does not mean that one has degenerated, but only that one has come to close grips instead of to a pleasant nodding acquaintance with the basic instincts of the earthly vital nature. I have had myself the experience of this rising to a height, during a certain stage of the spiritual development, of things that before hardly existed and seemed quite absent in the pure yogic life. These things rise up like that because they are fighting for their existence — they are not really personal to you and the vehemence of their attack is not due to any ‘badness’ in the personal nature. I dare say seven sadhaks out of ten have a similar experience. Afterwards when they cannot effect their object which is to drive the sadhak out of his sadhana, the whole thing sinks and there is no longer any vehement trouble. I repeat that the only serious thing about it is the depression created in you and the idea of inability in the yoga that they take care to impress on the brain when they are at their work. If you can get rid of that, the violence of the vital attacks is only the phenomenon of a stage and does not in the end matter.”

Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 9, Transformation of the Nature, Transformation of the Vital, pp. 246-259


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