Yogah Cittavrttinirodhah 1:2 yoga sutras of Patanjali –
What is Yoga that Patanjali explains in his Yoga Sutras? He says ” Yogah Cittavrttinirodhah ” – Yoga is to control the numerous fluctuations, urges or tendencies that arise in your mind in the form of thoughts and actions. Does Patanjali then, suggest to “stop” everything you are thinking or doing and you will be in Yoga?
Quite the contrary. He says that our mind is made up of the “Mind Stuff” from which our tendencies and urges arise known as Vrittis. To “control” and not “stop” the Vrittis is the right approach. He sums up all the Vrittis arising from our Mind Stuff into five kinds describing each one, their behaviour and pattern. It is important to know this if any kind of mastery is desired over the body, breath and mind.
Let us try an experiment to understand our Mind Stuff. Close your eyes and sit still wherever you are. Check if your thoughts are about events happened in your past or about events that you would like to occur in the future. This wavering of thoughts in the past or future is a Vritti. One cannot stop this chain of thoughts that come to you when you close your eyes but one can certainly identify them and begin to control them by understanding the tendency and applicability of that thought. As you practice this further, you will come to realise that all thoughts stem only from your urges and tendencies that are deep rooted in the Mind Stuff with no reality to them in the present. By understanding this you are now ready to eliminate the unnecessary and move towards only the necessary. This is only the first step in the practice of Cittavrttinirodhah as you have managed to reduce the fluctuations, urges or tendencies that arise in your mind and not control them totally.
Our Mind Stuff is the most complex subject in the universe. Just as complex as the universe itself. if one can work to reduce and eventually eliminate the movement of thoughts from the past and future to the now, then you have begun the process of Cittavrttinirodhah, the process of Yoga.