yogas citta vrtti nirodha

yogas citta vrtti nirodha


I wonder how many things are going on around you at this very moment? How focused is your attention on reading these words?

Do you feel like you really have the time to be doing this, or perhaps there are a line of impatient thoughts waiting to draw your attention and action away from this task and on to the next one. Maybe there’s a lot of movement around you, other people in your vicinity or on the TV doing things that draw your awareness towards them.  

Yogas citta vrtti nirodha

Yoga is all about concentration. The second sutra states it clearly: yogas citta vrtti nirodha. Yoga is the calming (nirodha) of the fluctuation (vritti) of the mind (citta).  

Google, define fluctuation: an irregular rising and falling in number or amount.  

Yoga is the calming of the irregular rising and falling of the mind.   

If we calm these irregular risings and fallings, if we settle into focus amidst the distractions, that’s yoga I suppose.

Does this resonate with you? Does it feel like this is something that gets easier the more you practice? Is this how you would describe your yoga? 

Showing up unexpectedly

I’m often reminded of this yogas citta vrtti nirodha business, but it’s not always the most obvious theme of my practice.

In the early years, I noticed it mostly because people who’ve known me for years commented on how much calmer I seemed since I’d been practicing yoga. I still felt a high level of anxiety and although it had been improving, I wouldn’t have expected other people to notice much of anything. Looking back, it was more than once I’d been described as spazzy. Hyper, fast talking, all over the place. That they started instead to notice me as calm and relaxed was a big difference, and a hint.  

Most recently…

Most recently when yogas citta vrtti nirodha made itself known to me I was teaching in a new studio and there were a dozen new things happening all at once. To abbreviate so as not to bore you, I’ll hit the high points.

I stood in open French doors to teach for students outside of the door on a deck, inside of the door in the studio, and around the corner on a laptop screen on Zoom. Which way is front?

Add to that the technical administration of the in-person and online spaces, new students with new injuries, and a job to do that includes the facilitation of stable, calm, cohesive, mindful, interesting space to practice, feel, and learn.

First of all, thank goodness I had the help of another teacher to get set up. Second of all, thank goodness for yoga, because I really don’t think I could have managed all of that without it. So many fluctuations, so much my mind needed to be aware of but one task to do within the milieu. One focused task that required my full concentration.  

Can you identify?

I’d bet you’ve had experiences like this, too. Where there was so much going on and you’re working with all of it to get it done. A situation where you could have easily been overwhelmed but instead you were on it. Not pulled this way and that by the many moving parts, but taking them all into consideration and conducting a symphony of time and movement towards a specific goal or fulfillment of a need.

We’re all asked to do this at times in life. Some of you probably every single day! I wonder, do you think your yoga practice helps you to do it better? Does it help you nirodha those vrttis so you can make the whole thing work?  

Or maybe it’s not so big. Maybe your yoga simply makes you feel a tiny bit more flexible. And that’s perfect, too. 


Image by Ben Mack from Pexels