Once the yogic sadhana moves to the physical consciousness, it runs into the nature of the physical and material world that predominates in the quality of Tamas, with its characteristics of darkness, sloth, indolence and dullness, inertia and slowness to change. In the physical world itself, this is a stabilising quality that ensures continuity and process, and slows down the over-eager vital nature, based generally in Rajas, and forces change to be considered and implemented over time through a maturation and nurturing process, a consequence of the quality of Sattwa in its characteristic role.
When the sadhak of the yoga needs to deal with the resistance of the material consciousness, he must prepare for a slow and steady slog, as change at that level requires repetition, building of new habits of response, and encouragement to the physical nature to respond and support the needed changes. Once the physical nature actually provides its acquiescence, it can be a very willing and supportive tool for the action of the higher force in the world. Because the awareness of the physical consciousness is slow to awaken, and its power of resistance is embedded into its very existence, the progress at this level can seem interminable and inordinately difficult.
Sri Aurobindo notes: “This negation is the very nature of the physical resistance and the physical resistance is the whole base of the denial of the Divine in the world. All in the physical is persistent, obstinate, with a massive force of negation and inertia — if it were not so, sadhana would be extremely cursory. You have to face this character of the physical resistance and conquer it however often it may rise. It is the price of the transformation of the earth-consciousness.”
Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 9, Transformation of the Nature, Transformation of the Physical, pp. 259-262