• karenwhitfieldyoga

All in the mind....

Hello! There was no blog post last week as I was away with the family in Cornwall. I have been back in the flow today and finding it so interesting reviewing study notes from my first few study modules. Here is my new offering on the concepts of Cit and Citta, hope you find it interesting!


I don’t intend to go into Yoga Psychology in any depth but having asked the question ‘What is Yoga?’ no answer would be complete without some discussion of Cit and Citta. These fundamental concepts were adopted from Samkhya philosophy and will help define what it is that makes a Yoga practice different to just another set of exercises.


The Yoga Sutra summarises Yoga in a single verse: yogaḥ citta-vŗtti-nirodhaḥ Yoga is the containment of movement within the psyche

Citta refers to the psyche or mind. A popular misconception is that through meditative processes we want to stop the mind. This is not the case (and basically impossible unless you are dead of in a vegetative state…). Instead we want to contain and channel the mind in one direction so that it helps rather than hinders us. Like ripples clearing from a pool we can then see the bottom clearly, uninterrupted by the chatter and imprints of our habitual thought patterns.


The implication of this is that something else is looking out from behind the Citta; in Yoga this is given many names dependent on the context: Cit, Purușa, Draștu. These all refer to a fundamental level of awareness, something unchanging within us that allows us to observe change around us. In our everyday lives the Cit sees a picture clouded by the continual dance of the Citta. By practicing Yoga we hope to shift the balance from the Citta serving itself to the Citta serving the Cit. Once we can see more clearly we can act and react more skilfully and life flows better!


So how does this apply to me? I just want to feel better/get stronger/more flexible/happier/calmer/energised (delete as appropriate). To be continued....

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