Patanjali defines yoga as the removal of thoughts and consciousness from our minds, also known as Chitta Vritti Nirodhah. Our minds are likened to a clear lake, if we look in, we should be able to see our own reflections. On the other hand, our thoughts and consciousness are like the ripples that disturb the calmness of the lake – when there are ripples, we can no longer see our own reflections when we look in the water. This definition of yoga greatly resonates with me, as I discovered how having yoga in my life allows me to be able to filter out the noises in my mind and help me to find my grounding to focus on the task at hand better and improve my productivity and mental well-being.
Throughout my life, I have always struggled with confidence issues and self-doubt. I never believed in my own capabilities and self-worth, and that resulted in a lot of emotional distress and negativity. I was always comparing myself to others who were better than me, and that made me feel inferior and hopeless.
Somewhere along the way, I started my yoga journey out of curiosity and mainly for pursuing the asanas as a form of exercise. I started out practising yoga about once or twice a week, sometimes once in two weeks. While practising, I learned to understand my body better, to be more aware of what my body was capable of, and also to be more kind to my body and listen to myself. As time went by, I find myself drawn back to yoga for the mental benefits that accompanied the physical practice. That’s when I started practising more intensively, about 4-5 times a week, and what led me to this YTT course. I enjoyed the mindfulness of the practice, whenever I was doing poses, I focused on my breath and dristi, and found calmness despite the intensity of the asanas. There were days where my mind was not so calm, and that made the physical practice feel different.
While I still have lots of room for improvement, I am able to appreciate Chitta Vritti Nirodhah, that Yoga is the suspension of the fluctuations of the mind. I am also learning to apply this sutra to my everyday life, and I do feel that by practising yoga, it has helped to transform my mind to bring about greater productivity when I remove all distractions and unrelated thoughts from my mind and focus on the one task at hand. With a clear mind, I am empowered to achieve more things and be more aware of my capabilities and strengths, relieving myself from self-doubt. I am excited to see how yoga will continue to change my life, and the journey is just beginning.