The Yoga Tutor

The Yoga View of The Mind

[ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page 455 ]

The mind is four-fold, comprised of four distinct aspects known as the antar karana, the "internal instruments." These four internal processes are:
  1. Chitta - the memory bank, or subconscious
  2. Manas - the conscious mind
  3. Buddhi - the intellect, which possesses viveka (discrimination)
  4. Ahamkara - the ego, or sense of 'I', 'me', 'mine'
This general framework above is sufficient for our current exploration, yet be aware that the yogis have, through their ceaseless inquiry, uncovered to profound proportions the inner workings of the mind, which is the very reason that they have been able to construct a system so effective in its recognition of the 'human condition' and unparalleled in its depth for the re-organization of the psyche and re-establishment of health on all levels.

The process of yoga itself is one of understanding and achievement of mind control. In his article, "Integral Psychology of Yoga," Yogacharya Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani summarizes some of the intricacies of the mind known to the yogi:

"The Yogis also discovered that the mind has many levels (states) such as mudha (dull and inert mind), kshipta (distracted mind), vikshipta (partially distracted mind), ekagratha (concentrated mind) and niruddha (controlled mind).

They also found that the thought waves (chitta-vritti) were five fold: pramana (conception), viparyaya (misconception), vikalpa (imagination), nidra (sleep) and smrithi (memory).

They realized that without controlling these mental fluctuations there was no hope of spiritual evolution. This is why Maharishi Patanjali says, 'yoga is the stilling of the whirlpools of the mind (yogash chittavritti nirodhah)'. Once this is achieved, the yogin rests in his essential self (tada drishtu swarupeva sthanam). The method to achieve this state is through dedicated and determined practice and dispassion (abyasa vairagyabhyam tannirodhah)."


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.

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