Yoga Sutra 1.2 – Yoga chitta vritti nirodah
Chittam = Mindstuff
Vrittis – Thoughts, fluctuations
Nirodah – Restriction
Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind.
Chittam comes from chiti which mean consciousness. Chittam is the seat of consciousness.
The Mind has the power of identity, we are what we think. If we focus our mind on sour thoughts, we are sour. If we work to keep our thoughts uplifted, we will operate at a higher level of consciousness.
Man is as his chittam is. This is the secret of secrets.
In English the word meditation is derived from the Latin word meditari, which comes from the same root word as “to heal”. The practice of meditation, or controlling our vrittis, sets in motion a process that leads to the restoration of our physical, mental, and spiritual bodies.
If yoga practice is to be mental, why is the word yoga associated with physical postures?
We are mainly occupied by the concerns of the body because we are more sensitive to it than the mind. So practicing the core of yoga (mind control) becomes secondary to dealing with the needs and demands of the body. The practices that help us become healthy and strong on a physical level help us to minimize the obstacles to the inner work. We must first get our “home base” comfortable and secure to have the time and energy to do the spiritual work.
Asana, breathing, relaxation, concentration techniques, and good nutrition are all part of yoga. But to do these without the inner work is not yoga.
Sharing my own experience, I can tell you when I first started practicing yoga, I did not sit! I did not want to sit and I did not even enjoy rest pose! As I matured in my practice I grew into the inner work. I am not saying that I am always successful in meditating, sometimes it is just a “think-fest”, but what I can tell you is I have become willing to sit (and I want to!)
. . . May my works be accompanied by prayer and meditation and my prayer and meditation accompanied by works.