I’m pretty stoked because this is the first episode of my podcast! I wanted to call it All Is Coming, but because of search engines, I opted for The Yogi Movement Podcast: Practice Yoga & All Is Coming. I’m happy about it!
Let me tell you… it was not easy to create a podcast! I had no idea all that went into it. There are hosts, feeds, intros, voice equalizers! I have to thank Pat Flynn for his awesome tutorial. Without it – I was lost.
This first podcast has some flaws, but nothing drastic enough to keep me from publishing it. I am going to change the music in my intro, and also add a closing. I also didn’t run this through a voice leveler, which I should have, and will next time.
If there’s anything I’ve learned from being an entrepreneur, it’s that you can’t can’t can’t be a perfectionist. You just have to move forward with what you have so that you can continue to improve, grow, and build. So, I submitted it!
And, friends… here it is.
Scroll down to read more to find:
- An outline of what’s discussed
- Links discussed in the show
- Your download of a guided meditation and worksheet to track your mind shifts.
1. What Is Yoga:
Can you believe I’ve never written about this? I always felt that defining yoga was way out of my league. It’s so personal and different for everyone.
To make it even more confusing, I was just reading that different schools of yoga have different definitions. I didn’t know this until recently.
I thought that the definition of yoga from Patanjali’s yoga sutras was IT, but I was wrong.
I recently read this insight with Greg Nardi where he discusses how the vedantic schools of yoga defined yoga as Union, where Patanjali did not.
We’re going to be discussing Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, which is the heart of my practice.
In the second sutra, Patanjali defines yoga as Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodhah.
This translates to: Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind waves.
I like to say, Yoga is the quieting of the mind chatter.
It all means the same thing, but my definition is a little easier to understand.
In order to understand yoga, we need to understand exactly what Patanjali means here. So, let’s break this down….
The Chitta = Mind:
This is our consciousness. This is how we perceive things because of the impressions left in our mind, and whatever happens to us throughout our life. These impressions can cloud our perception of the world.
If you had a amazing day at work and made a ton of money, then the day will seem great. If your car breaks down on the way home, then you might get really bummed out, and think the world hates you. You’ve forgotten all about the great day you had, and now it seems like the world is against you.
The purpose of yoga is to lift the shield to see underneath all of the impressions that cloud the mind. You might see the clouds, but you can look beyond them and know they’ll eventually float away. This includes good and bad perceptions.
The Vrittis = Mind Waves:
Vrittis are the mental modifications of the mind. They can be painful or painless, but for the sake of this podcast and post, we’re discussing when they’re painful. Usually when something’s painless, we don’t have a difficult stilling the mind waves, but when something’s painful – the mind becomes distorted, and life feels difficult.
There are five modifications that Patanjali talks about, which we’re going to identify in the next podcast. They are sleep, verbal delusion, memory, inference, and direct perception. Don’t worry about these now! Let’s first understand the mind, and how to practice yoga.
Basically, vrittis are misconceptions that cause the mind to go out of control, but have no proof to back them up.
Have you ever been sick and looked up the symptom on WebMD? Maybe you have a sore throat, and you’re feeling tired, but then you read all of these other symptoms. Your mind tricks you into thinking you have some illness that effects 2 people every 10 years, and you are freaking out. How will you tell your family? Who will get your dog? Where will you live out the remainder of your life? You cry yourself to sleep for a week straight.
So, you go to the doctor, and guess what? You just have seasonal allergies! You did all of that worrying for nothing. That’s an example of a vritti.
It can even be as simple as seeing a spider in your home. You get really scared, and when you get closer you realize it’s just a dustball.
Vrittis are simply misconceptions that cloud the consciousness.
Nirodhah = Find Stillness:
This is the act of learning to quiet the mind through the practice of yoga. The types of practices we’re focusing on are asana, meditation, and living a spiritual life. This is not just done on the mat or for the time you’re sitting still, but we take it off of the mat.
The practices of postures and sitting meditation are extremely important though because this is this is the time we take to calm the storm in our mind. This is the time we take to digest our thought processes. We get a glimpse into our mindset.
What we learn when we practice will teach us how to work with the mind when we resume our normal daily activities.
The practice of nirodhah can take a long time, but becomes easier as you start to watch the thoughts floating around.
You can think of a vritti as a plant. You can either water the roots and watch it grow out of control, or you can watch it at the surface, and decide not to feed it until it withers away.
Nirodhah is a practice and looking deep within to free the mind from these patterns, reactions, and impressions.
2. Understand The Mind:
One thing he says right off the bat is “For a keen student this one Sutra would be enough because the rest of them only explain this one.”
Isn’t that interesting?
I love that. We over complicate everything. At the very beginning of this long and complicated ancient text, he says just stop reading and practice, but we spend so much time deeply studying, philosophizing, and paying money for workshops to try to understand and cultivate this theory.
Here’s the thing though. It’s tough to stop at this one sutra because how do you do that? How can I just say, oh, all I have to do is calm my mind? Done and done!
No way, it’s not that easy.
That’s why the rest of the sutras exist. Everything in there explains how our minds work, why we do the things we do, and how to manage the vrittis – mind chatter.
Control the Experience – Not the Mind:
Satchidinada says “If you can control the experience of the mind rising into ripples, you will experience yoga.”
This doesn’t mean that the mind won’t run off or be tempted, but you want to control the experience. There’s a huge difference between trying to control the mind vs. the human experience.
You can’t actually control the chitta (mind), and shouldn’t try.
There’s a misconception that through yoga we learn to get rid the mind of all of the negative, and eventually, our lives are just full of pure joy and awesomeness. I believe half of that statement.
Our lives will be filled with pure awesomeness, but intertwined with the discomfort.
The world is made up of opposites. We are always going to be faced with crappy situations or suffering. If you’re trying to escape that, then you’re setting yourself up for a world of misery.
We can’t solve the problem of suffering, but we can move beyond it. We can rise above it.
Feelings & Emotions are Just Vibrations:
These emotions exist in the universe, and we have to learn to see them differently. Rather than labeling them as bad or good, try to see them as neutral. These are just vibrations or frequencies in the universe, and it’s up to you to give it meaning.
So, rather than trying to delete it through yoga and meditation, we learn to be in control of our reactions.
We begin to see that we just play these little mind games with ourselves. The more we do it, and observe it – the more patterns we’ll discover.
For example, I get really excited and have these great ideas, and the closer I get to carrying them out – I get all of this self doubt and want to talk myself out of it. I think – what if no one listens to this podcast. What no one reads my blog or buys my products.
But, the more I practice yoga, the more I realize that this pattern holds me back.
And, the more I practice, the more I can see where this stemmed from in my childhood. Then, I have to deal with the trauma and learn ways to breathe through that, and change my mindset.
It’s important not to run away from it, but to actually let yourself feel everything fully and deeply in your heart.
Feel the vibration of this emotion. Cry if you need to. Scream into a pillow. Feel whatever you’re feeling fully and don’t repress or control it. Just let it run its course.
If you run from it, or try to get rid of the bad feelings without dealing with it, then you’ll just water the seed and those emotions will continue to poison your being.
Yoga Gets To The Root:
See how yoga gets to the root of the problem? The practice starts from the outside layer of the tree that we can physically see, and we just burn each layer until we get to the roots, and then we burn through those too.
If I didn’t practice, then I would just make some excuse to justify my self-doubt and not move forward. And, I’d just go back to living the boring and miserable life that keeps me in my comfort zone.
This doesn’t mean that I’m not going to suffer, or ever feel the hurt emotions that come with the trauma. This doesn’t mean that I won’t ever feel fear or self-doubt again. It just means that I know how to handle it.
As I continue to ignore these thoughts and move forward, I become more and more confident, and learn how to be in total control.
So, yoga is about learning to restrain or be non-reactive to the vrittis in our mind.
3. How To Practice:
Commit to a Spiritual Practice:
In order to work with the mind, and find the stillness, Patanaji says that you have to choose a spiritual practice, and commit to it for a long period of time, with devotion, and without break.
The reason for this is because this isn’t something that happens overnight. In fact, it’s something that we’ll have to continue working with. It’s not like you just practice yoga for a few weeks, and then you learn how to find stillness.
Stillness takes a lifetime of work. Even after we’ve become really good at it, we have to keep practicing or we’ll lose it and go back to our bad habits.
It’s like any skill. If you’re a guitarist, you get better and better by continuing to practice. If you’re a photographer, you need to keep taking pictures and making art to grow. It’s the same with meditation or yoga. If you stop – then you’ll get rusty and stiff.
Another reason you want to practice for a long time is because you want to experience it on your own. Patanjali says to never have blind faith. You can read texts and memorize scripture, but if you’re not actually experiencing it, then what does it really mean?
There are a ton of spiritual practices that you can choose from, but I find meditation to be the best for watching the mind, so I created a guided meditation that you could download right here. You’ll also get a worksheet to record your thoughts.
I want you to do this for the next week because in the next podcast we’re going to work with the vrittis. We’re going to go through our thoughts and identify which vrittis are coming up, so we can get to the root and start to burn them off!
Please tell me any insights you’ve had about your mind in the comments!
Thanks for reading & listening!
Links Discussed In Podcast: