Part of my exercise routine is yoga. I’ve been doing it at home for years but recently I’ve decided to join a yoga studio. As I was researching my options on the web, I came across the article “Witnessing Your Thoughts in Yoga Practice” by Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati. It talks about the importance of observing the “natural flow of the mind” to bring yourself to a peaceful state. There are five states of mind in the yoga philosophy:
1. Kshipta / disturbed. This is the agitated mind:
“The ksihipta mind is disturbed, restless, troubled, wandering. This is the least desirable of the states of mind, in which the mind is troubled.”
2. Mudha / dull. You may be in this state of mind when you feel lethargic and sluggish.
“The mudha mind is stupefied, dull, heavy, forgetful.”
3. Vikshipta / distracted. This is the state of mind that lacks consistent focus.
“The Vikshipta mind in daily life can concentrate on this or that project, though it might wander here and there, or be pulled off course by some other person or outside influence, or by a rising memory.”
4. Ekagra / focused. This is the mind of the focused attention.
“When the mind is one-pointed, other internal and external activities are simply not a distraction. The person with a one-pointed mind just carries on with the matters at hand, undisturbed, unaffected, and uninvolved with those other stimuli.”
5. Nirrudah / mastered. This is the ultimate state of mind in the yoga system, distinguished by control and stillness.
“It is not that the thought patterns are not there, or are suppressed, but that attention moves inward, or beyond the stream of inner impressions. In that deep stillness, there is a mastery over the process of mind. It is that mastery that is meant by Nirrudah.”
When you learn something new, the last two are the desired states of mind because they allow you to concentrate better and be more perceptive. I am starting to pay attention to my state of mind. When I feel the need to quiet my mind, I do deep breathing exercises or meditate.
What state of mind are you in?