Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 2

योगश्चित्तवृत्तिनिरोधः ॥२॥

yogaḥ citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥ ||2||

Yoga is the containment of the fluctuations in the psyche.

yoga - the act of yoking, joining, attaching, harnessing; a yoke, team, vehicle, conveyance; employment, use, application, performance; a means, expedient, device, way, manner, methodcitta - psyche (the totality of the human mind, conscious and unconscious); mind; heartvṛtti - fluctuation; modification; turning; set in motion, course of action, behaviour, movement; activity, function; profession, mode of life or conduct, course of action, behaviournirodha - to contain, enclose; cover; confine, restrain; quell, surpress; quiesce

Commentaries and Reflections

Commentary by T Krishnamacharya:

“What is Yoga?
Yoga is Nirodha of the different activities and fluctuations of the mind,
the leader of the senses.
Nirodha is to completely cover.
Thus this Sūtra implies the Nirodha of involvement of the mind in objects
that distract from a chosen direction of contemplation.”

Citta Vṛtti Nirodha, the state of mind in which no distractions arise from undesirable external stimuli and the individual is able to choose an object of focus, ideally Īśvara.”

”Another term for Citta Vṛtti Nirodha is Dhyānam,
the state of mind in which an individual focuses on,
visualises and remains with Īśvara.”

“The ideal Dhyānam,
which becomes easier with practice,
requires certain preparations to reduce
the tendency of the mind to be distracted,
either by being jumpy and agitated, or dull and inert.
Chief among these preparations are proper diet and Prāṇāyāma.”

“The Veda speak eloquently of the lotus in one’s heart, where Īśvara resides.
It is only when the mind is quiet, clear, and steady that we can
reach into and visualise this most intimate part of ourselves.
Yoga as a Saṃskāra leads to Yoga as a means to experience this.
The experience of Dhyānam, in this ideal sense,
eventually evolves into Samādhi – total absorption in Īśvara.”

“In the second and third Sūtra the means to realise Samādhi
and the true nature of Jīva were explained.
The term used in those Sūtra is Draṣṭṛ
– that which perceives and aids in perception.”
– T Krishnamacharya on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 23

Commentary by TKV Desikachar:

Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 2
is a Lakṣaṇa Sūtra in that it
describes the characteristics of Yoga
as Citta Vṛtti Nirodha.”

“Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 2
is not Yoga Sarva Citta Vṛtti Nirodha.
This is a relative Sūtra,
which allows for a gradual evolution.”

“Yoga has many meanings in the Bhagavad GītāUpaniṣat, Saṃskṛta Grammar, etc.
It is defined again in the Sūtra. Yoga is the movement of the mind in one direction. It presumes:
1. There is something in each of us called mind.
2. This mind has many movements or activities.
3. It is possible to channelise these movements through certain actions.
4. When we accept movement we accept time and space – moving something from A to B. There are realities.
5. In accepting Vṛtti we also accept the idea of an object.
6. We can fix the mind so it confines itself to an object.”

Cit is always the same.
Nirodha always refers to Citta.
Thus Cit is a witness.
What changes is only Citta.”

“The mind is subject to change or Pariṇāma and as such can be channelised.
Certain movements can be emphasised or de-emphasised.”

“The mind is like a fluid,
which can modify into different things.
A sense of change.
Thus restraining modifications is channelising.”

“Yoga directs the mind to what is happening now.”

“Yoga is stopping the mind from becoming involved,
in activities that distract one from a chosen direction.”

Nirodha is a restraining of OTHER things,
not a cessation of activity.”

Restraint is in the sense of
if I am here I am not elsewhere.”

“Yoga directs the mind to what is happening now.”

Commentary by Paul Harvey:

“Yoga arises from
the containment of,
our propensity to fluctuate.”

“Yoga is the experience
of stillness within the
fluctuations of the mind,
rather than the experience
of stillness without the
fluctuations of the mind.”

“To experience the spaciousness of Cit,
Yoga says practice enclosing the Citta.”

“In Sūtra 1.2 what does the word Nirodha signify for you
in terms of choosing both what to keep in and to keep out?”

Inspirational Quote

“The present contains nothing more than the past, and what is found in the effect is already in the cause.” Henri Louis Bergson