The Yoga Sutras can be considered as the most comprehensive guidebook of the yogic practice. Here, the sage describes yoga using the Sanskrit phrase “chitta vritti nirodha”. The word “chitta” means the mind or consciousness. The word “vritti” refers to the dynamic engagements or fluctuations of the mind. According to Patanjali, and the Vedic philosophy at large, “chitta vritti” or the incessant fluctuations of the mind are a hindrance to spiritual focus.
The concept of “nirodha” is one that is shared by both Hinduism and Buddhism. Nirodha is a state of being in which all the worldly sufferings of the individual cease. This happens when he/she is focused on the spiritual self. Nirodha is, simply put, the cessation of the “chitta vritti”. Patanjali believed that the practice of yoga allowed one to look away from worldly concerns, and attain spiritual calm.