Yoga Sutras Study
Yogash chitta vritti nirodhah
Yoga quiets the activity of the mind. (According to the yoga sutras of Patanjali. Yoga Sutra 1.2)
Sounds good, right? It actually gets better.
If the activity is in your mind – the answer is in your mind. You are the answer. You can stop the activity and let the mind rest in the stillness of SILENCE.
Here’s the catch – it takes time. The activity in your mind didn’t just appear one day. It’s been building every day of your life. At first, we aim to stop the growth of mental distractions. Over time, we decrease what already exists.
How? Glad you asked!
Abhyasa vairagyabhyam tat nirodhah
Mastering the practice of non-attachment. (Yoga Sutra 1.12)
To practice non-attachment, we must discern what matters and what doesn’t. We must discern what is true and what isn’t.
How do you improve your life? What makes you a better person? Can you do something right now to achieve a LONG-TERM benefit? Note the importance of LONG-TERM: a pint of ice cream, a bottle of wine, or your vice of choice might make you feel better now, but if you used that every time you needed to encourage positive thinking, it will likely create more problems than it solves. Every choice you make, from deciding what time to get up in the morning, to who you are spending your evenings with changes your energy.
How do you know if you’re making the right choices?
How do you feel?
Are the right choices easy? Not always. There may be a person in our lives that we’re emotionally attached to, but they influence us negatively. There may be a job that is secure, but unsatisfying. To work towards our best self, we have to be honest about all the puzzle pieces of our lives. Which ones don’t fit?
To help navigate this energy, we practice mindfulness, becoming aware of what is going on within ourselves. Watching the patterns that unfold day after day. When the fluctuations rise, we meditate. Bring your thoughts to one mantra: shanti or peace. If you’re feeling that the energy within is too much to control, care for the body with your postural yoga practice. How many sun salutations do you need to be still in savasana?
Following the eight limbs of yoga, as Patanjali laid out in the Sutras, we can move our energy into alignment with something greater than ourselves. What’s holding you back?