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Chitta Check - More Vrtti or Nirodhah?

OR mind check - more roaming or settled?

One of my education goals this year has been to (re)study the Yoga Sutras.

I signed up for a daily challenge and have been taking time to re-read some of my own copies.

I find that each time I return to these teachings, I learn something new.

Because each time I return to the teachings, I'm a bit different as well.

New challenges, new triumphs - and yet the wisdom of the Yoga Sutras always comes through with some new gems.

Since the YS were originally written down in Sanskrit - there are numerous translations and interpretations.

I find it fun to check out as many different translations as I can get!!

Each translator puts their personal spin which results in a wealth of opportunities to connect to the original intention of the Sanskrit words.


Chitta - something that is close to consciousness. Or Universal consciousness titrated down to our personal experience of consciousness.

Vritti - interaction, one thing moves to another, rotation, fluctuation, mental tendencies in motion.

Nirodhah - a place where suffering ceases. The quieting of. Sometimes translated as restraint, mastery or taming.

A few of my favorite translations:

"Complete mastery over the roaming tendencies of the mind is Yoga."

Pandit Rajmani Tigunait

"Yoga is the ability to direct and focus mental activity"

Benard Bouanchaud

"Yoga is the ability to direct the mind exclusively toward an object and sustain that direction without any distraction."

T.K.V. Desikachar

"Yoga is the uniting of the consciousness in the heart."

Nischala Joy Devi

Many consider this sutra as our classical explanation of Yoga.

A few more words from Pandit Rajamani Tigunait:

“The mind is the repository of all our thoughts, feelings, and memories. It is a storehouse of our likes and dislikes. We see the world, and ourselves, through the eye of our mind. When the mind is clear and peaceful, we see the world as bright and peaceful. When the mind is convoluted, our understanding of the world and our relationship with it becomes equally convoluted. Our concepts of good and bad, right and wrong - depend on the quality of our mind as do our likes and dislikes. The quality of our mind in turn, shapes our thoughts, speech, and action. Both the sage and the demon within us are the products of our mind. A luminous mind enables us to see and embrace the Immortal Omniscient Being Within, while a mind darkened by ignorance entangles us in the long chain of birth and death, with its attendant, incessant experiences of pleasure and pain.”

Generally speaking, our minds create the lens through which we view the world.

When my mind feels clear - the world appears brighter even the not-so-awesome stuff.

When my mind feels crowded - I often fail to notice the beauty of the world, and the little -ish becomes BIG -ish.

An old Sanskrit saying goes:

“Mana eva manusyanam karanam bandha moksayoh”

"As the mind, so the person; bondage or liberation are in your own mind.”

disclaimer: AND some innate privileges may allow some folks quicker access to a clear(er) mind when their basic needs are easily met.

Studying yogic philosophy over the last 10 years has brought extra clarity and support in monitoring my own thinking patterns.

Learning to truly sit with my thoughts has been the greatest gift.

AND I'm still learning.

These teachings show up on my mat when I am able to focus my attention on the present moment - breathing with myself, moving intentionally, and simply observing my thoughts.

Truly - there's nothing better than when my chtta takes a pause!

Chitta Check - More Vrtti or Nirodhah?

(In my next blog - I'll explore some thoughts on heart versus mind as revealed above in different translations)


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