Dear Mind: Shut Up.

on Apr 22, 2012
get elephant's newsletter
Bridge by Mayur Godbole

“Yogas Chitta Vritti Nirodhah” ~ Patanjali

The second sutra in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras compilation is one of the most important and frustrating aspects of embarking on the journey of yoga. This particular sutra focuses on learning to restrain/modify (Nirodhah) the incessant thoughts that flow through our minds; the mind-stuff or mind chatter (Chitta Vrittis).

Chitta Vrittis are the stuff your mind thinks when you think you’re not thinking.

It’s the images and conversations that fly by in your head as your brushing your teeth or walking to the grocery store. One doesn’t really realize the sheer amount of information that filters through our sensory system and the instantaneous thoughts that are sparked.

The Chitta Vrittis continue to whirl through our headspace until we actually stop on purpose and notice them. It’s an almost surreal, out of body experience, when you start thinking consciously, for yourself. It’s a literal ‘WTF’ moment. Once that first jolt happens, once you stop mid-step that one time and take heed that your mind is not in your control and is joyously swinging from one branch to another like a wild monkey, you embark on a perpetually frustrating yet liberating action of continuously being aware of your Chitta Vrittis (life long endeavor!).

The hope is that, one day, with continous effort, you can guide your thoughts instead of them flopping around in your head like a fish out of water.

Yes, the mind chatter can be a royal pain in your arse and yes, they aren’t frustrating until you notice them (thanks, yoga).
But just like the detoxing, cleansing mechanism that yoga influences in your body, clearing the chitta vrittis from your mind is part of the life-long journey of making space for cultivated habits that enrich you, not deplete you; the actions and thoughts that are conducive to your existence, not detrimental.

This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t let our mind wander when we’re in our creative zone. The ‘mind-juices’ that flow there serve a different purpose.

But imagine where your mind takes you with this thought pattern: you’re driving in your car, thinking about the annoying red lights and then the mind boggling traffic, which leads to the delay in your schedule, during which the exasperation sets in, which reminds you of the irritating people you’re about to see at the meeting and on and on!

Holey moley! That’s a lot of thoughts and emotions zooming through your head space in 20 seconds!

It’s during these chitta vrittis that it’s important to stop, take a step back and think about your thoughts. What purpose did it serve?

Like elephant yoga on Facebook


Editor: Kate Bartolotta


About Rajni Tripathi

Rajni Tripathi is driven by a thirst to understand human behavior and why we do what we do. Through her studies and as a Multidisciplinary Yoga instructor & Prenatal teacher in Conscious and Sacred Birthing, she operates on the belief that one’s life and its' discovery need not be dictated by another’s dogma or judgement. She strives to foster an authentic, fearless and impactful life for herself and anyone who seeks it. Stay in touch with her musings: RajniO, Facebook and twitter.


9 Responses to “Dear Mind: Shut Up.”

  1. Syropes says:

    Like Tinnitus of the brain! Constant background noise…

  2. Tanya Lee Markul Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Posted to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
    Follow on Twitter

  3. Valerie Carruthers ValCarruthers says:

    Just posted to "Popular Lately" on the Elephant Spirituality Homepage.

    Valerie Carruthers
    Please go and "Like" Elephant Spirituality on Facebook

  4. […] Wikipedia’s meaning for monkey mind (translated from its original Chinese and Sino-Japanese linguistic […]

Leave a Reply