Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha is the second line of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and can arguably be said to contain the essence of why we practice yoga, it is defined as “yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind”.
This is not to say that we don’t practice yoga for the physical benefits, we do! And for some this is just what their bodies need. Ultimately though, Yoga is an integrative technology that seeks to unite (Yoga is sometimes defines as “to unite” or “yolk together”) all aspects of our lives.
Yoga is frequently sought to combat stress or other negative influences, the symptoms of this can present in out bodies as numerous maladies from tight joints or knots to more sever forms of illness… The practice of Yoga can certainly open our bodies up and through the postures can massage our internal organs as well as stimulate our many bodily systems (skeletal, muscular, endocrine, respiratory, circulatory, elimination, integumentary, digestive and nervous systems) to produce positive result… But these are just the symptoms, and, if left unchecked will keep trying to re-assert themselves over time, if we look to the source of many of our stresses and fears, we find the mind is the critical factor…
By stilling the fluctuations of the mind we start to see external stimulants for what they are and prevent them from taking root or presenting in other forms that grow into stress or fear… Many times our minds are either focused on the past (feelings of regret) or the future (either worrying about things that will or won’t happen), very rarely in the present moment.
Yoga helps us to achieve this clarity and peace in each precious moment… all of these moments when joined together become our experience, which, if we where present in each one, leads to liberation from negative influences.
The concept may seem simplistic, but, it doesn’t need any further complexity, the opening Sutra from Patanjali is enough to aim for as a goal and strive for in our daily activities, in this way our Yoga extends beyond our time on the mat and provides many opportunities to breath into each moment :o)