Vrittis of the mind – Patanjali Yoga Sutras

योगश्चित्तवृत्तिनिरोधः ॥२॥

yogaś-citta-vr̥tti-nirodhaḥ ॥2॥

In Sutra 1, verse 2, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, you will encounter this verse that sums up all that we hope from doing yoga, or rather have yoga do us. We have been walking the yoga path for a long while now and have come to see how the Vedantic concept of the mind can perfectly explain the ills and sufferings that our clients experience as a result of their patterns of thinking and therefore behaving. But whose fault is that, you might ask. Society? Parents? Teachers? Whatever or whoever shaped our thinking? It’s all and none.

See, we are all incarnations carrying with us a lot of imprints from all our past lives as well as any new ones we created in this lifetime. If you agree that most of us are un-enlightened beings then you would also agree that most of the time we operate on ignorance. We are not wise. We don’t choose the right thought, speech or behaviour. Instead we are often doing the I, me, mine dance. What’s in it for me? This is truly the thing that keeps us coming back.


Because we are so often ego-centric, and it is not our fault (moreover, a healthy ego is important), we get annoyed, irritated, upset, and righteously angry when things don’t go our way. Someone says something and no matter how innocuous, if we choose to take offence, then that’s it. We have taken offence. Here’s the sad part. By taking offence, and if it’s already a habit, then we are just strengthening the thought pattern that was already there. This is what the scriptures call samskaras which are energetic imprints created from thought forms.


All it takes for them to uncoil is a trigger, in the form of a vritti, a churning of the mind to come along. Remember that annoyance? Catch that vritti early and you would save yourself a whole lot of inner turmoil. Why? Simple. If you can catch yourself quickly and replace it with a gracious thought like “hmm, I’m sure he must have a reason for that. Maybe he’s had a rough day with his boss?” And you let it go and replace it with wow! congrats, a kind and forgiving thought!

Yoga and meditation

Which means as long as you don’t add to what you have already created as patterns and scripts in your subconscious where they all reside, then you are on the right track to enlightenment. In fact, why not take it a step further and really learn to meditate and get into yoga and let yoga do you. To turn you inside out for the ultimate makeover where old scripts and patterns are transformed and transcended. Imagine, no longer at the mercy of knee-jerk reactions but instead a calm, happy, and gracious person who knows how to pause and choose a wise response in every situation. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Don’t come back if you can help it

And remember! you WILL carry with you into all your future incarnations every single bit of stuff you have created in the form of samskaras or parabdha karma or any of the other forms of karma, yes, there are more, then you would also agree with us that it’s time we stopped it here. Haven’t you had enough of this game, this awful leela? Does God have a warped sense of humour or what? Take on the challenge of attaining self-realisation in this lifetime because seriously, do you really, really want to come back?