In the philosophy of yoga there are various words that can be translated as “mind”, for example “citta”, “manas” and “buddhi”. Citta expresses subconscious and unconscious thinking, that is, those thoughts that arise in us without our awareness, and which can crowd our mind without control on our part. Manas expresses a wide and conscious sphere in which we are able to choose our thoughts and develop our reasonings, the famous “cogito ergo sum”, that is, “I think therefore I am”. It is precisely from the Sanskrit term manas that, through linguistic mutations, we have obtained the word “mind”. Buddhi represents an even more refined intellect, with which we are able to cultivate a high thought and pure content. Being an intellectual, therefore, does not depend on the quantity of information that an individual acquires in life, but on the quality of the control of thinking patterns.
Most people live on the mental level of citta and this is not just because we live in a fast and mechanized society. In fact, several centuries ago, the Indian sage Maharishi Patanjali in his “Yoga Sutras’ described Yoga as “yogah cittavrtti nirodha” (Samadhi Pada, II), that is, “Yoga is a state of peace of the vibrations of the citta”. Mental agitation is therefore as old as the human species. How can we calm thought and rest?
The disconnected thoughts of citta generally come from reactions to past memories or projections about the future and are moved by attraction or repulsion. As a first step, we can take a deep breath and bring our awareness back to the present moment. And maybe even a second breath, this time trying to relax the body on the exhale. Here we have created a space of silence in the crowding of thoughts of the mind and this space, this silence full of self-care, is Yoga.