The Yoga Tutor

Mental Awareness

[ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page 194 ]

The third level of awareness in yoga is mental awareness.

The mind can control both the emotions and the body. This is that conscious part of the mind that is capable of recognizing itself and actively changing its negative, destructive tendencies.

It is precisely the understanding of the workings of the mind and the cultivation of the power of the mind which is at the forefront of the practical yoga techniques.

Within the mind resides the potential to control the emotions, and as a result, the emotions’ effects upon the body. This is the third state of awareness in yoga.

Understanding the structure of the mind is imperative to self inquiry and transformation. The mind possesses two fundamental aspects: the conscious (manas) and the sub (un)conscious (chitta).

The subconscious aspect of the mind lacks awareness. It is at this level where conditioned emotional responses originate. When the conscious mind recognizes subconscious mental activity, that is to say that when our conscious or cognizant mind (manas) recognizes a conditioned, subconscious attitude within our self, then we are in a position to explore its source.

That is the process of inner inquiry known as svadhyaya—one of the pancha niyamas. This awareness of mind is crucial for inner transformation. At a higher level, the manas, or conscious mind is then further transcended by a higher aspect of the mind known as the buddhi, or higher intellect. This process is achieved through the antaranga (or inner) stages of yoga: dharana (concentration) and dhyana (meditation), which we will visit in later lessons.

The Fourth Level: Awareness of Awareness

The highest level is awareness of awareness itself. It is the experience of the truth of one's own essence. This is referred to variously as enlightenment, samadhi, or cosmic consciousness. May all who aspire to the highest truth attain this realization!...


NOTE: This yoga article is an excerpt from The Science of Yoga, an online yoga training program with streaming yoga videos and 600 pages of step-by-step yoga instruction.

"The Science of Yoga is a course worthy of

leather binding and an honored place in the
finest libraries in the world 
... It is indeed a masterful work."


Dr. John Michael Christian


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