Efforts to practice the yamas and niyamas are an essential ingredient in the yogic process of introspection. When we consciously quiet our attention and turn it inward to contemplate how we are or are not practicing these 10 commitments, it is naturally drawn toward the most refined part of the mind, buddhi. There, sensitive both to what is pure and what is impure, buddhi guides us. It provides an inner sense of whether we are on the right track, centered within ourselves—even in the face of competing distractions—or whether we are starting to veer off the path, and what we might need to do to get back to center. When the approach we take is to align ourselves with what we sense to be wise and true, then self-reflection will lead to balance and self-understanding. For instance, if we feel angry, we can respond in one of two ways: we can react and strike out in return, which will cause even more harm, or we can step back, take a few deep breaths, walk away, and contemplate what triggered our anger and why—and then work to resolve it.
You can cultivate a similar practice of contemplation based on the list of nine obstacles (antarayas) and the symptoms accompanying them, found in Yoga Sutra 1:30–31. Here is the list of each: