Nirodha – Three Ways of Stillness

The focused diligent practice of Yoga is call Abhyasa and within that, we are practicing Vairagya, which is letting go of sensory perception and observation. It becomes a detachment to what is observed or seen arising as a result of practice. 

The goal of practicing Yoga is to reach a state of Nirodha. Nirodha is to stop, restrain, still, the removal and the cessation of.

  • Kaya Nirodha – Physical Stillness
  • Prana Nirodha – Energetic Stillness
  • Citta Vritti Nirodha – Mental Stillness

What happens when stillness is achieved? The self rests within itself. The “I-ness” of you recognised itself. Samadhi is a separation from Prakriti and wakens to it as Purusha.

What happens when stillness isn’t achieved? Well, the witness miss-identifies with the thoughts, emotions, images, sensations and other mind-stuff. Prakriti. 

Patanjali has two solutions:

  1. Kriya Yoga – Tapas, SvaDhyaya, Isvara Pranidhana or 
  2. Ashtanga Yoga – Yamas, Niyamas, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi

Kriya Yoga is said to be for those who are not seeking the highest Samadhi. Ashtanga Yoga is said to be for those seeking full liberation from the suffering of existence. Either way, the purpose is to practice and minimise the Kleshas – Mental Emotional Afflictions which are said to be at the root of why we suffer and why we are subjected to ongoing Karmic action or reaction.

  • Avidya – Ignorance
  • Asmita – Egotism
  • Raga – Raga
  • Dvesa – Aversion, resistance 
  • Abinivesha – Fear of loss, change and death

Our job is to develop our Viveka, discernment to recognise our own ignorance of the wandering mind (Avidya). How we misidentify with being more than, less than, or stuck in a limited unhealthy ego self (Asmita). To wake up to craving, yearning and chasing something more pleasurable (Raga). Or to what we are avoiding or resisting (Dvesa). And ultimately what we are truly afraid of (Abinivesha).

This week we will focus on Nirodha to observe the unnecessary movements we take with the physical, energetic and mental bodies. Looking into why we fidget, move, tremble, itch, and notice our wandering mind. To look with a clear lens to what is asking for us to wake up to.

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Published on November 24, 2023