Yoga citta vritti nirodhah

Having never read up on yoga philosophy prior to this yoga teacher training course, I was quite excited for my first yoga philosophy class. At first, I thought it might be mostly about history and things I will just learn for fun and forget all about. However, now I realize that yoga philosophy is important to understand. Aside from mental and spiritual benefits, it can also bring out the best performance in our physical asanas.
One of the most well-known yoga sutras is “Yoga citta vritti nirodhah”. This quote means yoga is stilling the mind.
In our modern lifestyles, our minds are often racing. When we are at school or at work, we think about our deadlines and how many more things we have to finish. Even when we are at home, trying to get to sleep at night, perhaps we are thinking about what our schedule is like for the next day. Sometimes, we tend to let our minds wander even when we are doing certain poses. I’m sure some people already think of how to reward themselves with a good wholesome meal after their yoga session while flowing through tiring vinyasas.
Therefore as an aspiring yoga teacher, it is important to keep this sutra in mind. The objective of yoga is to achieve clarity of mind. This is something we need to instill in both ourselves and our students.
This is why we start asana practice sitting in stillness, just relaxing our minds and focusing on our breaths. This prepares us for our asana practice as we focus on our bodies and the practice. By achieving concentration be it during meditation or in the first part of asana practice, we are able to be at peace with ourselves, be calm, without intrusive thoughts. This is important for our mental and spiritual wellbeing. You may wonder, is this even related to the physical practice of yoga asanas? Yes, it is. With a lack of distraction in the mind, we are able to increase awareness of the present. As we practice our asanas, we will have increased body awareness and be able to focus on bringing ourselves deeper into the pose.
Thus, stilling the mind is an important sutra which can improve our physical performance as well as mental and spiritual wellbeing. As a yoga teacher, working on this is crucial. Only then you will be able to share this with your students and improve their physical practice as well as slowly, their lives.
Cheryl (200hrs YTTC – Jan Weekday)

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