Citta Vritti is a term that refers to the „mind’s fluctuations or chatter“: thoughts, desires and emotions that clutter the mind, thought patterns or misconceptions that limit us in any way. The Sanskrit name Citta means „consciousness“ or „memory“, and Vritti means „waves“ or „fluctuations“.
Yogash Chitta Vritti Nirodhaha, the ultimate goal of yoga, refers to the attainment of mastery over the dynamic forces of the mind. Through yoga, we can learn to overcome a mind that is distracted or disturbed by chatter or fluctuations and cultivate a peaceful, calm and concentrated mind. Thereby, we can reduce stress, increase our self-awareness and use our minds with clarity and purpose.
According to Patanjali, there are five types of Vritti:
Pramana (correct knowledge)
They all prevent us from seeing the truth about the world and the self. In Yoga, we learn to stop identifying with inner processes, to not get caught up in „waves“ of the mind such as thoughts or emotions and instead to cultivate a calm mind - just like like stilling the waters of a lake allows us to see its treasures on the ground. Often, our mind takes us to the past or future by letting us be guided by automatic desires and reactions, by worries or pondering. This way, our mind does not allow us to be present in the here and now and to actually be conscious of the only moment that is truly happening.
Yogic practices, such as movement, concentration, attention, breathing and meditation, are wonderful tools that can quiet Citta Vritti to help the yogi reach harmonious awareness and a true sense of self. It is not about compulsory controlling the mind e.g. by suppressing thoughts or feelings, but to allow the mind to rest in its center. Hence, the mind can be trained to one-pointed and concentrated rather than distracted. We learn to cultivate detachment as in stopping to identify with thoughts, emotions or experienced sensations and therefore turn away from the material towards the spiritual. In other words: Yoga encourages us to get aware of our identification with the external aspects of our life, to become unattached from them and to then find our inner place of peace.
„Yogash Chitta Vritti Nirodhaha“ – Yoga is the calming of the mind, the clearing of fluctuations and habitual thought patters (Patanjali)
“Yoga is the golden key that unlocks the door to peace, tranquility and joy.” (B.K.S. Iyengar)
“Although you appear in earthly form, your essence is pure consciousness. You are the fearless guardian of Divine Light. So come, return to the root of the root of your own soul.” (Rumi)
“Detachment is not that you should own nothing. But that nothing should own you.” (Ali ibn abi Talib)
Integration into Yoga Practice
Yogic tools to calm the mind
Synchronizing movement & breath
Written by: Dania @daniaschyoga