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Yoga Sutra 1.5

Yoga Sutra 1.5
vrttayah pancatayyah klistaklistah
The fluctuations in the heart-mind are five-fold. They are either helpful or harmful.

Our thoughts, words and actions create fluctuations in our field of consciousness. These can either bring us closer to our true Self (helpful) or they can lead us astray and cause pain and suffering (harmful). For example, if you have a thought that enters your mind, say you think you aren't good enough to do something you really would like to be able to do, so you decide not to pursue your dream or goal. This makes you unhappy and you lose even more confidence and thus begins a downward cycle. In yoga, we learn to break this unhealthy pattern by repeating positive affirmations or building confidence through asana, so that the thought that enters your mind is replaced by something helpful. When you do this enough, a healthy pattern develops and the harmful one dissipates.

Another example of a vrtti (fluctuation) would be an action. When you go for a morning walk each day, that is helpful - it makes you feel better, gets you moving and gives you time for reflection. A harmful action might be if you decide to answer emails first thing every morning so you never end up getting your exercise or walk in. The action of answering emails is leading you away from health.

In your life, can you identify a healthy vrtti and a harmful vrtti? Feel free to share in the comments below.

The coming sutras will describe more about the the 5 types of fluctuations.

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