According to Patanjali (the sage who compiled the Yoga Sutra-195 aphorisms about yoga-approximately 2,000 years ago), there are nine obstacles that stand in the way of us developing one-pointed focus or a state of yoga.

Yoga Sutra 1.30 says that if we have difficulty attaining mental clarity, these obstacles listed below are creating distractions [citta (mind)viksepah (disturbed mind) te antarayah (obstacles and symptoms of suffering)]:
vyadhi (illness)
styana (apathy)
samsaya (doubt)
pramada (impatience)
alasya (fatigue)
avirati (over indulgence)
bhranti darsana (distorted perception)
alabdhbhumikatva (lack of perseverance)
anavasthitavani (regression)
{This translation loosely comes from Reflections on Yoga Sutra-s of Patanjali, by TKV Desikachar}

I realize that this is a simplification of the sutra, and I am trying to make it accessible to all.

As we move into the new year, I will be looking at these obstacles as they arise in my life and in my meditations.  I am inviting you to do the same.  Svadhyaya (self study) is not always easy and may at times seem impossible.  It is so important to have a teacher and/or a sangha (community of yogis) to work with.  Without sharing who we are with others, it’s unlikely, we as regular humans will be able to see our defects, grow and change.

So what can we do? Daily practice of self-reflection is a great start.
One of my favorite chants is: namah namo namah
I surrender, I surrender, I surrender or It’s not me, it’s not me, it’s not me

You can add the chant into your asana or sitting practice.  The funny thing about a practice with chanting is that you have to remember to listen to any messages that come your way.  So after you do your practice with your chant, be sure to give sufficient time for the messages to come.  How long? In the beginning, it might be 5 minutes.  Just see what happens.  I also chant in my head and aloud as I do things in my house, outside, driving.  It brings me great peace and I hope it does for you as well.

Feel free to ask questions or comment on your experiences.