Chitta is all that stuff that's going on in your head all the time. It is the constant jabber of thoughts, emotions, images and impressions in the mind. It can play like a movie, without our input or intervention, running in the background whether we want it to or not.
This chaos of information is seemingly beyond our control—or is it?
Yogas Chitta Vritti Nirodhah
The goal is to find the control that allows us the ability to change the movie that is being played; to alter the characters, emotions, script, and ending. If we feel like the chatter in our mind is negative and unproductive, we want to change the reel to one that is more positive and peaceful.
In essence, the practice of yoga is how we allow chitta to affect us and how we react to it. ~April Saunders
Yoga helps us do this in many ways. Mastering this practice can profoundly impact our lives and shape our experiences. It starts with physical practice.
How To Deal With Your Chitta
Conscious breathing is the first step. Learning to control your breath may sound easy, but it can be more difficult than you think.
What happens when you become irritated, frustrated or annoyed? Your breath automatically becomes shallow and short. This same principle can be applied to yoga class. When your teacher puts you into a posture that is outright uncomfortable and irritating, you will learn to return to your yogic breathing.
When the breath is full, comfortable, and intentional, your body will relax, your blood pressure will go down, and you will feel less tense no matter what is going on around you. This takes practice.
The Steps to Inner Peace
Taking this practice off the mat can teach us a lot about ourselves. Once we notice what happens to our chitta when we are placed in an uncomfortable posture in the safe and welcoming yoga room, we can begin to apply the same concepts to our lives at work and home.
When we are bothered by an uncomfortable situation, what happens to our thoughts? Do they instantly become negative, self-defeating, or deflated? Remember to keep breathing, maintain positive thoughts, and practice ahimsa (nonviolence). Place no judgement or attachment to your thoughts.
Unless we have reached enlightenment, chitta will exist. The goal is to keep our yoga practice active in all areas of our lives—in and out of the safety of the yoga room.