Remember a situation when something which you read, or was said by someone, evoked an immediate response within you; an idea or concept about which you knew for certain was true and correct? You felt a deep knowing that you were hearing a truth? At this moment you may have just accessed your ‘pratyaya’, a deeper level of the mind, your innate wisdom.

Manas Mind

In Yoga we understand our mind to consist of different levels; the outermost layer being the ‘manas’ mind, which is close to the senses. This part of the mind gathers information and undertakes the basic processing of this information. This level of thinking is often called the ‘monkey mind’.

Citta Mind

The next level, the ‘citta mind’, is linked to the cognitive functions of the mind; functions like understanding, misunderstanding, imagining, remembering etc. On this level we analyze, draw conclusions, and act accordingly.

Pratyaya

Underneath those more superficial levels of mind lies what is called ‘pratyaya’, the ‘wisdom’ mind. This is not totally separate from e.g. memory, but is on a much deeper level of knowing within us. We hope that our ‘citta mind’ is able to access the ‘pratyaya’, when drawing conclusions and making decisions. Unfortunately this is not always the case.

The experience of emptiness

Sometimes we get caught up in worldly matters, not spending enough time with ourselves to quiet the mind, for the reflection and contemplation which leads to spiritual growth. Then we lose the connection to the wise part of ourselves, which makes the correct life decisions for us. Sooner or later we will experience a sense of emptiness, superficiality and discontentedness with certain aspects of our life. There is the strong sense that something is amiss.

Little effort gets you far

One essential ingredient necessary for being able to tune into our wisdom, is – what we all claim to have a lack of – time! Those who have practiced Yoga before, will have an understanding of the idea that ‘putting in a little effort/time, will bring rich rewards’. Once we have completed a practice, our day will unfold so much more harmoniously, flowingly, productively and satisfactorily.

Our mind has the tendency to wander to the past or the future, and is most of the time unable to remain in the present moment. In order to train the mind to do what our conscience or essence is telling us to do, we need to practice bringing our awareness to the present moment again and again. In Ashtanga Yoga, with the focus on linking movement to breath, we can practice this effectively for the whole length of our practice. The effects are immediate, we feel that we have more of a handle on our ever-racing mind, we feel more balanced and ready to face life’s challenges.

It is this precious time we spend with ourselves during our yoga practice, which brings us in touch with the wiser part of our being. This will reward us greatly, leading us to feel our lives are more fulfilled, are more meaningful and purposeful. You will also feel like you have more… time.

OM Shanti, Angelika