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Tame the Monkey Mind

Have any of these ever happened to you?
  • You walk into a room and forget why you went in
  • You try to fall asleep but a long list of to-dos begins to run through your head
  • You avoid sitting in silence, preferring music, TV, or podcasts because the quiet feels “loud”
  • You find yourself reading the same paragraph in a book over and over
If any of these situations feel familiar, then you are well aware of the chaos in your “monkey mind”. Your mind has been described as a drunk monkey getting stung by scorpions, leaping from branch to branch. In yoga, we call this mind chatter chitta vritti (chit-ta-ver-itty) and we use yoga and meditation to cease the constant thought parade. Chitta means “conscious” or “mind stuff” and vritti means “whirl” or “fluctuations”. In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, he wrote Yoga chitta vritti nirodha which translates to “yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind”. In other words, yoga’s purpose isn’t to touch your toes or do a handstand. The big goal of yoga is to quiet your brain fluctuations, which cause us so much stress and pain. Yoga, meditation, and breathing practices were developed to stop the chatter so you can get in touch with your inner self with patient, peaceful awareness.
We specifically practice observing our vrittis while in meditation. Watching our minds as they drift to worries, to-do lists, music lyrics, and judgements, we practice bringing our attention back to the moment, whether that’s by following our breath, repeating a mantra, or noticing the floor underneath us. In this way, our monkey mind gets trained to pause before leaping to the next branch (thought). Eventually, the pauses grow longer and we are able to actually succeed in ceasing the fluctuations of the mind (even if only for a moment).
Explore more about wellness, the physiology of yoga, the science behind the practice, and the peaceful power that yoga cultivates in our studio classes, Y4A’s unique workshops, and on our Facebook page.