~ Chitta Vritti Nirodhah: what is it about? ~


These three Sanskrit words trace back to the yoga sutras, written by Patanjali. This is the traditional philosophical foundation of the inner journey through the spiritual practice of yoga.

The yoga sutras (basic principles) provide us a “roadmap” on what happens in the inside – our mind, emotions and the entire inner body – when you practice yoga. Although it was comprised more than 2000 years ago, these sutras are still relevant to the struggles of yoga students today.

The 2ndsutra describes the purpose of the yoga practice, saying “Yogas chitta vritti nirodhah”, which means “Yoga is stilling the fluctuations of the mind”, or literally translated as:

  • Chitta: mind, consciousness
  • Vritti: waves, fluctuations
  • Nirodhah: to control, to quiet

So, during the practice of yoga, we experience this phenomenon chitta vritti nirodhah, and as a result, our so-called “monkey mind” falls into complete serenity and quietness. Your intention is not to compulsively attempt to control the mind, but you allow the mind to rest in its center.

Patanjali further explains that through our dedicated practice and practicing detachment, we will be able to stop identifying with the thoughts, feelings, and sensations we are experiencing, which are the reasons for all the emotional pain we are suffering from. We then will be open to experience our true self. In essence, the whole journey of yoga is turning away from the material towards the spiritual.

“Yoga is the golden key that unlocks the door to peace, tranquility and joy.”
(B.K.S. Iyengar)

In other words: yoga encourages us to take one step after the other deeper within; to get aware of our identification with external aspects of life; to become unattached by these aspects and to eventually find this inner place of peace.