MEDITATION ON THE YOGA SUTRAS: "YOGA CHITA VRITTI NIRODAH"
"Yoga Chita vritti nirodah" is one of the 196 Yoga Sutras (aphorisms). The Yoga Sutras were compiled by Patanjali, they contain the core knowledge of Yoga and are considered guidelines to live a meaningful life.
On each of my yoga classes I aim to provide my students with simple tools that can use everyday to make little changes in their lives that can help to live life better. Meditation is one of them. But, what to meditate on? We can use many objects for meditation, one of them can be a topic on which we place our entire attention. This week we meditated on this Yoga Sutra, the Sutra 1.2 of Patanjali.
In sanskrit Chitta means "mind" or "conciousness", Vritti means "fluctuations" and Nirodha means "the end" or "cessation" so the translation of the sutra can be understood as "Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind".
If we observe our mind we will notice that it is constantly fluctuating or moving. From past to future, from here to there, never fully in the present. Never satisfied, always looking for something else, always wanting something else or wanting to be somewhere else. Never satisfied.
Whenever the mind experiences something that interpret as pleasant it gets agitated and excited. Whenever it experiences something unpleasant it also gets agitated in a different way, frustrated or even depresed. Always fluctuating from present to past, from excitement to frustration/boredom.
If we observe our mind with attention, we will soon realise that this is the natural state of our mind. It is what the mind does.
The more we observe this behavior and start looking at these patterns with some distance we will learn to disengage with these fluctuations. Anger, hatred, desire, frustration, fear, whatever it is that our mind is experiencing, as soon as you start to observe it, it will lose power, it won't feel so strong anymore.
Observing our our mind, observing where the mind goes and looking at it from the distance. If you continue practising, eventually you will be able to stop or at least reduce these fluctuations. You will be able to have a still mind. You will see and accept the situation as it is. You will stop following the monkey mind and its fluctuations. You will find peace.
When that happens we are practising Yoga. "Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind". "Yoga Chita Vriti Nirodah".
If we learn to observe our mind, sensations and thoughts we get to realise that the mind is something we have, but is not what we are. If there is something I can observe, that what I can observe is not me. Anger, frustration, fear, hatred. They are there, I can observe them. They are there now, but they won't stay there. We know how the mind is, we know it is always fluctuating, always changing. They are there now, but they won't stay there. Why should I engage? Why should I take them as the ultimate truth?
"Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind". "Yoga Chita Vriti Nirodah".
As you go through your day, you can continue meditating on this. Observing whatever thought that comes to your mind without engaging. Observing where your mind is moving.
Eventually, there will be Yoga.
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If you are curious, check out my story about how I got into Yoga and leave a comment below if you liked this post!