4 Things About Meditation You Didn’t Learn In Yoga Teacher Training
Yoga is primarily aimed towards meditation. That’s right – it is not just about handstands and bendy bodies! The yoga sutras tell us that there are 8 limbs of yoga (only one of which is physical practice) which are essentially dedicated toward getting the mind ready for ultimate self-knowledge through meditation.
SEE ALSO: Buddha’s 6 Rules Of Love
So what has Patanjali got to do with all of this? Although we don’t know as much about him as the Buddha (who was a prince), the sage Patanjali was – believe it or not – a scientist of the mind! It might seem hard to believe all this knowledge existed so many thousand years ago. His name quite simply means the one who jumps out of the fist of conditioning. He is credited with writing/assembling the sutras – although they are likely to have been based on older sources.
Didn’t Buddha also teach meditation? Yes, the work of the Buddha also taught meditation but some 300 years earlier. Buddha wrote 84,000 dharmas (or verses). Patanjali’s teachings are much more condensed, almost like mathematical formulas, into 196 sutras. Buddha too was a scientist of the mind but is seen sometimes more as a revolutionary, and some years later in India his teachings were shunned for a while! Patanjali’s work was influenced by Buddha’s teachings.
3) Modern Studies
Is there any link with meditation and modern studies of the mind? There are perhaps up to 500 studies published a year worldwide on mindfulness/meditation. During meditation, access and insight may be acquired to the unconscious or subconscious mind. The work of Freud, of course, was pivotal in showing us that human behavior is governed by the subconscious and unconscious mind.
What are Cittas? Mentioned both by Buddha and Patanjali, these are best described as thought impulses and the associated neurotransmitters triggered by the subconscious. So a stream of Cittas, or Vritti, as it is also known, are what form our thoughts, and they can be positive or negative. It’s similar to a stream of light particles. Think of the unconscious mind as the hard drive of a computer – this is where the Citta are stored! Yoga sutra 1:2 tells us yoga can remove the Citta Vritti.
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