Maharishi Patanjali succinctly defines Yoga as: Yoga Citta Vritti Nirodha or Yoga is the cessation of fluctuations of the mind.
There are five types of mental fluctuations (or vrittis) which help us get a better understanding of the workings of our mind. He says these five vrittis can be painful or non-painful. They are:
- Valid Cognition (Pramana)
- Misconception (Viparyaya)
- Imagination (Vikalpa)
- Sleep (Nidra)
- Memory (Smriti)
This article focuses on the third vritti: Vikalpa. Vikalpa or Imagination is one of the 5 types of mental thoughts or vrittis. It means fantasy or illusion.
We are all no strangers to creating our own little imaginary drama theatre by going over and over every tiny detail of a past event. We depress ourselves over the “what if”, the “if only” storylines which could’ve lead to different results. As human beings, this is something we all indulge in from time to time. Daydreaming and worrying about the future by playing out worst case scenarios is where anxiety thrives. Mulling and obsessing over the past is how we go on accumulating generous helpings of guilt.
Although controlled imagination, creativity and visualization (known as Kalpana) is beneficial in daily life, Vikalpa is uncontrolled, unproductive, and random.
Classical yoga suggests letting all vrittis, including the Vikalpa, go and not to fall for fantasies and the trappings of our imagination. Instead, we should call its bluff and recognise its emptiness through yoga and meditation.
Ah, monsoon! The smell of wet mud, grey skies and misty air. The kind of weather that makes you want to stay in bed all day.
As beautiful as the monsoons make everything, they play havoc on our fitness routines. Morning runs are replaced by snoozed alarms, yoga classes are skipped for simmering cups of chai, and gym sessions are traded for binge sessions in bed.
But have you ever wondered why you turn into a sloth the moment the rains set in?
Don’t blame yourself for being lazy, there’s science at play!