Yogas chitta vrtti nirodha

The long tradition of yoga is rooted in the exploration of the human mind and developing perspective to reduce suffering in this life. One of the primary sources of yoga philosophy is the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali. The Yoga Sutra is a collection of short statements with deep meaning. Sutra translates from Sanskrit to thread and this thread, or multiple threads, weave a tapestry of insight and path for direct practice.

The second sutra “Yogas chitta vrtti nirodha (1:2) is where Patanjali defines yoga. It translates to “yoga is the practice of stilling of the mind.”

Our minds are in constant motion. We are trained to identify, categorize, label, and judge the input from the world. All of this processing can lead to a distracted mind, like a pinball machine, constantly reacting and bouncing to the next thought. This type of mental activity can create barriers or lenses through which we view the world.

Stilling the mind completely seems an impossible goal. Patanjali suggested that there are methods for quieting and clearing the mind. The sutra(s) offer specific practices to consciously remove the lenses that distort thinking, cultivate a witnessing presence to release identification with our thoughts, and detach from false identifications.



(yoga chitta vr-it-tee nee-ro-da-Ha)

Yoga is the ability to direct the mind exclusively toward an object and sustain that direction without any distractions.

yogaḥ = (nom. sg. m. from yoga) yoga
citta = (iic.) all that is mutable in human beings; thoughts
vr̥tti = (iic.) thought-wave; mental modification; mental whirlpool; a ripple in the chitta. A vritti alters perception like a misconception, or as waves on the surface of a pond obscure or distort our view of the bottom.
nirodhaḥ = (nom. sg. m. from nirodha) to find tranquility; to control

I will be leading a 6-week workshop designed to explore some of the practices outlined in the Yoga Sutra. Each class meeting will include an introduction of the sutra, asana (physical practice), pranayama (guided breathing), and meditation. Classes are designed to provide an experiential practice where you can explore your own thinking patterns and techniques described in the Yoga Sutras. Visit or call (317) 344-9840 to sign up for the Gentle Yoga + Philosophy series.

  • Friday, January 5 11:30am-12:45am (Topic: intro to philosophy & viniyoga)
  • Friday, January 12 11:30am-12:45am (Topic: Viyoga/developing awareness)
  • Friday, January 19 11:30am-12:45am (Topic: Samskara/habit patterns)
  • Friday, January 26 11:30am-12:45am (Topic: Vairagya/non-attachment)
  • Friday, February 2 11:30am-12:45am (Pratipaksha Bhavana/perspective)
  • Friday, February 9 11:30am-12:45am (Topic: Abhyasa/dedicated practice)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *