Vritti

वृत्ति - vṛtti

Vortex, eddy, whirlpool. Refers to cyclical movements of energy in the spine. (1)

In the Yoga Sutras, Patajali begins: “Yogas chitta vritti ni rodha,” translated as “Yoga is the neutralization of the vortices of feeling.” Vrittis are habitual motions of thoughts associated with egoic desires and attachments. For example, the thoughts of “I want,” “I like,” “I need,” and “I reject,” revolve constantly around the ego. The purpose of yoga as presented by Patajali is to neutralize these vortices around the ego by attaining stillness in the spine. (1)

Vrittis occur in various locations along the spine according to their level of consciousness. For instance, gross desires are centered around the lower chakras, while spiritually uplifting impulses are located higher in the spine. (1) The eddies in the mind that produce bondage and karmic delusion are primarily biased feelings in the heart, such as likes and dislikes. (2)

If one directs energy upward through the spine, for example in meditation, one can dissolve the vrittis and carry them toward the third eye chakra between the eyebrows. (3) By practicing yoga, one can neutralize likes and dislikes, eliminate ego identification, and attain the state of enlightenment. One must direct all thoughts and feelings toward superconsciousness in order to realize oneself as spirit. (1)

References

  1. a b c d Demystifying Patanjali: The Yoga Sutras, by Swami Kriyananda. Sutras 1 – 2, “Yoga is the neutralization of the vortices of feeling.”
  2. The Art and Science of Raja Yoga, by Swami Kriyananda. Chapter 1, “Philosophy: The Paths of Yoga.”
  3. The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita, explained by Paramhansa Yogananda. Chapter 7, “The Spine Pathway to Salvation.”