The Vrittis: Patanjali’s Five Fluctuations of the Mind

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Patanjali begins the yoga sutras by defining yoga as “citta vrtti nirodaha”(YS 1.2) which is often translated simply as ‘Yoga is the ability to calm/direct/restrain the fluctuations of the consciousness/mind’. Patanjali then says that when in this state of yoga, the perceiver (person) then abides in his or her own/true nature. So the question then becomes – HOW do we calm or restrain the mind to achieve this desired state of yoga? Well the simple answer is: do your yoga practice. Simple. Just keep doing a regular and sustained yoga practice and all will come – as the late Sri. … Read More

The Fifth Limb of Patanjali’s Eight Fold Path: Pratyahara (Controlling the Senses)

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Last month, we covered the fourth limb of Ashtanga yoga – pranayama (breath control).  All previous posts can be found on the YWG GRACE-MAIL archives.  Now we are going to explore the fifth limb: pranayama (breath control). Just a reminder that the eight limbs of Patanjali’s Eight Fold Path are: Yama (restraint) Niyama (observances) Asana (posture) Pranayama (breath control) Pratyahara (controlling the senses) Dharana (concentration) Dhyana (meditation) Samadhi (absolute consciousness)   This month’s focus: PRATYAHARA Pratyahara is centering the mind with control of the senses.  The yoga sutras define pratyahara as ‘the conscious withdrawal of energy from the senses’.  You … Read More