This week, we’re looking at the second Yoga Sutra and breaking it down via a translation by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait.
Patanjali Yoga Sutra 1.2
Yogas chitta vritti nirodhah
Complete mastery over the modifications of the mind is called yoga
= Yoga union, balance; harmonious state of mind; bridging the different aspects of life; connecting the individual consciousness with supreme consciousness
= mind; the repository of thoughts and feelings; that which thinks and feels; the inner instrument for thinking, feeling, perception, and cognition; the instrument that consciousness uses to explore its own manifestation; the leader of the senses; the seat of the spirit
= thought constructs; mental modifications; movements in the mind
= completely, in every respect, from every direction and
= restraining, disciplining; not allowing to roam aimlessly.
I've always imagined this sutra like this: as if the mind is represented by a lake… yoga is when the water is still, free of ripples and waves with a sense of calm & connection. Sometimes I wonder: How is this even possible?? The mind is harder to control than the wind! The mind is always jumping from topic to topic, various attachments, likes and dislikes, judgments and pulled by distractions of the senses. How can we tame our monkey minds? Patanjali would say with constant practice and detachment. In the meantime, maybe our first step in applying this sutra is noticing the mind during our asana and meditation practices, noticing where it goes and the quality of our thoughts. Are they uplifting? Helpful? Are they critical and judgmental of self and others? Roaming aimlessly?
The other day, Raghunath said, “The mind is always going to go somewhere. Where is it going to go to?” This is the other application of this sutra. We can make conscious choices in our day with our associations, entertainment, the environments we find ourselves in: choosing people, places, and things that help upgrade the mind instead of degrade the mind. We want the mind to lead the senses, and not the senses to lead the mind. I’m not saying it’s always easy, but it’s food for thought! Go forth and practice, yogis. Let's get our chitt(a) in order!