Vrittis are the fluctuations of the mind.that happen almost constantly throughout the day in our minds (Chitta). Especially during practicing Yin we experience often that our mind is drifting off a lot. Be ensure that this is completely normal, it is a part of our Journey to our Inner Self and a part of our Subconscious.
Those distracting thoughts are referred to as Vrittis in yoga philosophy. If you ever spend time watching your own mental processes, you’ll notice that the mind is in a continual dialogue – discussing the weather, commenting on the expression on someone’s face, worrying about bills that are due, etc. Sometimes Vrittis appear to be completely random, unrelated to anything in particular, and other times they will be obsessively fixed on the spot that just doesn’t want to come out on your t-shirt.
Regardless of their source or function, Vrittis are a big obstacle on the yogic path. They interfere with our ability to focus, agitate emotions, and cause general distraction, sometimes mayhem, in our consciousness.
Therefore, a large part of yoga practice is focused on cleansing the mind of the Vrittis. The second verse in the Yoga Sutra, which is quoted time and again by many yoga teachers for good reason, states that “Yoga is the cessation of the Vrittis”. Yoga, the state of complete oneness or union, happens when those internal thoughts vanish.
The Five Vrittis
- Pramana (right knowledge) – A state in which the mind reflects reality
- Viparyaya (misconception) – A state when the mind makes a wrong judgement, which, in time, is replaced by right knowledge
- Vikalpa (imagination or feeling) – Refers to understanding the real situation, though words do not directly relate to the situation
- Nidra (deep sleep) – The state of mind that exists when one sleeps
- Smriti (memory) – That which is stored in the mind
The aim of yoga is to still and attain a superior state of mind.
Yin yogis, like all practitioners of modern yoga, can gain from understanding the Yoga Sutra’s model of citta and the vrittis. Knowing that these five vrittis are operating during your practice, and during your life, can help you increase your ability to calm them. Being aware that the mind moves in notable, observational ways gives you a way to understand what is arising. Knowing that the vrittis exist gives you the opportunity to watch for them.
Vasana literally means ‘wishing’ or ‘desiring’, but is used in Advaita in the sense of the sub-conscious or latent tendencies in one’s nature.
Vasanas are the long suppressed Vrittis who have gained strength in secret.
they can be hidden for a long time or for a lifetime. but when they appear they can be very powerful.
In the process of gaining this inner clarity, we also may spend time observing those Vrittis to understand our habits of thought and desire. So Vrittis that follow a particular pattern, an internal habit, are Vasanas.
Vasanas are heavily ingrained patterns – in thought, word, and action – that are very challenging to change. Some believe these habits have been established for lifetimes in our subconscious. It is only through becoming aware of what these tendencies are, challenging them, and learning to refocus our attention or our actions elsewhere that Vasanas begin to change.