Besides mastering the poses, we learn to master quieting the mind and minimizing the vritti’s in yoga.
“Vritti” literally means a “whirlpool”. Vritti has also been translated as “waves” or “ripples” of disturbance upon the otherwise calm waters of the mind. The classical definition of yoga as stated in the Yoga Sutras is to calm the waves and return, or reunite (yoga = union) mind to its calm state.
These “disturbances” or distractions keep us from reaching our highest point of enlightenment.
For example, during your fifth downward dog in the practice, your mind may start to wander.
The mind most often tends to think in the past or future, not in the present moment. Yoga allows us to get to that space. By focusing on our breath, we are bringing attention to the present moment. This is mindfulness.
According to Harvard Health Publishing the benefits of mindfulness include:
I encourage you when practicing at home, in class and throughout the day to focus on your breath. Spend 5-10 minutes a day in stillness.
Finding an area of peace and serenity will help you to refocus.
Here are a few great yoga poses for mindfulness and meditation: