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Discovering Yoga’s Essence Part 1: The Cessation of Mind

Are you ready for a transformative journey through the world of yoga? At the Yoga New Vision Teacher Training School, we believe that yoga is a beautiful physical practice but it is more than that. Also, it’s a discipline that goes beyond postures and poses. In this blog post, we’ll explore the essence of yoga, focusing on the profound concept shared by Patanjali – the cessation of mind.

Yoga, as defined by Patanjali, is the state of no-mind. You will understand your body by practicing postures but they are preparing you for a state where the ceaseless chatter of the mind comes to stiliness. It’s a journey into the depth of yourself.

Patanjali’s approach to yoga is scientific and practical. He urges us to realize that yoga can be helpful as a therapy, but it is not only for physical healing we have to understand that it’s a discipline for those who seek more than what the normality of life offers. It’s for those who feel the limitations of the known, and the need for something greater.

So, what does it mean to cease the mind?

Imagine your mind as a continuous flow of thoughts, desires, hopes, and beliefs – a constant activity. Patanjali compares it to an ongoing “minding” or thinking. Yoga, he says, is when by practice this activity of the mind comes to a stillness, leaving you in a state of no-mind.

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This cessation is not a forced suppression of thoughts but a natural flow towards stillness. Patanjali encourages us not to interfere with the mind but to simply observe. Picture your mind as a river, flowing with past momentum. Instead of cooperating with it, become an indifferent onlooker.

When your mind is quiet, you naturally become an observer of your thoughts and experiences. Imagine a clear sky – that’s your pure state of being, thoughts are like clouds. It happens when you can just watch thoughts without getting tangled up in them.

As you practice, you’ll notice times when your mind stops on its own. In those moments, you’re not the thinker; you’re the witness – the pure seer without judgments or attachments. This witnessing state is your true self, free from the constant identification with thoughts.

In our daily lives, we often merge with thoughts. For instance, when hunger arises, instead of just recognizing it, we say, “I am hungry,” blending our identity with the thought. But like a wise person, you can observe hunger as a passing sensation, saying, “There is hunger,” maintaining a clear distinction.

This witnessing state is the essence of yoga, which is essentially the stilling of the mind. In this state, you’re not caught up in the world of identification – you’re free from the cycle of misery. Liberation is not a distant goal; it’s accessible now. By becoming a witness to your mind, you step into a realm of bliss and fulfillment.

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Always remember this foundation as you explore further into the practices of yoga. The ultimate aim is achieving a state of no-minda peaceful and joyful life awaits as you take your first step on this transformative journey.

At the Yoga New Vision Teacher Training School, we emphasize the importance of practicing indifference, a positive attitude towards letting the mind flow without active participation. By cultivating this attitude, you allow the mind’s energy to dissipate naturally, leading to the cessation of thoughts.

You may wonder, “How do I practice this?”

Witnessing Breath Meditation

  • Find a Quiet Space: Sit comfortably in a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed.
  • Close Your Eyes: Gently close your eyes to turn your focus inward.
  • Awareness on Breath: Shift your attention to your breath. Observe the natural flow of your breath without trying to control it.
  • Witnessing: As you breathe in and out, become the witness. Imagine you’re standing by the side of a river, watching the gentle flow. Similarly, watch your breath without interference.
  • Non-Attachment to Thoughts: Thoughts may arise – let them come and go. Don’t engage or judge them. Return your focus to the breath.
  • Body Scan: Gradually scan your body from head to toe. If you notice tension, consciously release it.
  • Let Go: Allow any emotions or sensations to surface without attachment. Let them pass through your awareness like clouds in the sky.
  • Silent Observation: Practice silent observation. The emphasis is on witnessing without mental commentary.
  • Ending: After 15-20 minutes, gently open your eyes. Take a moment to feel the stillness within.

Note: This meditation cultivates the art of witnessing. It’s not about suppressing thoughts but allowing them while maintaining your role as the observer. Regular practice can lead to a deeper sense of inner peace and mindfulness in daily life.

In our next blog post, we’ll delve deeper into the discipline of yoga, exploring how this contributes to your transformative process. Until then, cultivate the positive attitude of indifference, and let your yoga practice become a journey into the state of no-mind.

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Yoga New Vision, Bali
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Acknowledgement – it is inspired from Osho Discourses on Patanjali “yoga alpha and the omega” vision.

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