How does our mind work?

What is mind? How does the mind work?

The mind is a fascinating and intricate aspect of human existence, encompassing a vast array of cognitive processes, emotions, memories, and perceptions. It serves as the lens through which we interpret and interact with the world around us, shaping our thoughts, beliefs and behaviours.


In yoga, the mind holds a pivotal role in practicing mindfulness, an ancient tradition centered on being fully present and accepting of one’s experiences without judgment.

Mindfulness involves observing thoughts, emotions, and sensations with curiosity and compassion, rather than getting caught up in them. Yoga combines physical postures (asanas), breathwork (pranayama), and meditation to cultivate mindfulness holistically.

Asanas encourage focusing on the body and breath sensations during movement. Pranayama, like deep breathing, calms the mind and enhances present-moment awareness. Meditation forms the foundation, allowing practitioners to observe the mind’s fluctuations without being swept away by them. It fosters clarity, concentration and emotional resilience.

Ultimately, yoga fosters a compassionate relationship with the mind, promoting self-awareness, emotional regulation, and overall well-being. Embracing mindfulness guides yogis to navigate life’s complexities with ease, finding peace amidst modern chaos.

In the context of yoga, the mind is viewed as a central aspect of an individual’s being, influencing both physical and spiritual well-being. Yoga philosophy, particularly as outlined in texts such as the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, emphasizes the importance of understanding and mastering the mind to achieve inner peace, clarity, and self-realization.

Here are some key concepts related to the mind in yoga:

1. Chitta: This term refers to the mind-stuff or consciousness. It encompasses the mind’s total field, including thoughts, emotions, memories, and perceptions. Chitta is often described as having three components: Manas (the mind), Buddhi (intellect or reason), and Ahamkara (ego or sense of self).

2. Vrittis: These are the fluctuations or modifications of the mind. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras state that yoga is the cessation of these mental fluctuations (“Yoga chitta vritti nirodha”). The goal of yoga practice is to calm the vrittis to achieve a state of mental clarity and tranquility.

3. Samskaras: These are the deep-seated impressions or patterns formed by past experiences and actions. Samskaras influence behavior and thought patterns. Yoga aims to recognize and transcend these patterns to achieve a state of liberation (moksha).

4. Pratyahara: This is the practice of withdrawing the senses from external objects to focus inwardly. It is a crucial step in calming the mind and preparing for deeper stages of meditation.

5. Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi: These are the final three limbs of the Eight Limbs of Yoga (Ashtanga Yoga) as described by Patanjali. Dharana is concentration, Dhyana is meditation, and Samadhi is the state of deep absorption or enlightenment. Together, they represent the progression of mental discipline leading to a state of unity with the self.

6. Mindfulness and Meditation: Many yoga practices emphasize mindfulness and meditation as tools to observe and regulate the mind. Techniques such as breath control (pranayama), mantra repetition, and guided visualization help practitioners develop greater awareness and control over their mental states.

7. Kleshas: These are the mental afflictions or obstacles that cause suffering. The primary kleshas include ignorance (avidya), egoism (asmita), attachment (raga), aversion (dvesha), and fear of death (abhinivesha). Yoga practice seeks to diminish these afflictions to achieve mental and spiritual liberation.

Overall, in yoga, the mind is seen as both the source of suffering and the key to liberation. By understanding and mastering the mind through various practices, individuals can achieve a state of inner peace, balance, and ultimate self-realization.

So take a moment to observe your mind and see how mind work

Also read:

Yoga & Monkey Mind

Yoga Philosophy

Ancient Secrets of Yoga

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