Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Vritti Deadzones; I now guest blog for Connectedtrips

I just read Danielle's latest blog post from Mysore, where she is now studying at the KPJAYI. She offers a very honest and down-to-earth account of her day-to-day and moment-to-moment impressions of studying with Sharath. Do check it out. This line from her latest post really strikes a chord with me:

"The quiet, focused energy turns the room into a sort of a vritti deadzone, where your wandering mind is deprived of vritti-enhancing oxygen, making it easy to really tune into your breath, your energy and the power of this practice."

Vritti deadzone... I like this. Perhaps this is really what brings us to the mat every day after we have been doing the practice for a while. I mean, it's nice to be able to do fancy things like touch your hands to the ground in Uttanasana, float forward/backward in Surya Namaskars, bind in Mari D or Supta K... you name it. But I suspect that after a while, what really draws us to the mat each day is this opportunity to use the practice as a clearinghouse of the vrittis, to turn the mind into a vritti deadzone (or as close to one as possible) for at least a couple of hours. Which is the not the same as shutting off your brain or becoming a thought-empty zombie. Rather, the idea is that even though thoughts will naturally occur as you breathe and move through the asanas, one also becomes aware of a deeper layer of being that is undisturbed and unmoved by these thought-waves. It is this deeper layer that is the vritti deadzone, a zone where vrittis cannot reach.

I also think that certain physical circumstances of the practice make it easier to access this vritti deadzone. Right now, for instance, I have just embarked on a new asana sequence in my practice, having added the Tittibhasanas (A, B, and C) and Pincha Mayurasana to my practice last week. I'm not sure why exactly this is (if I have to guess, I'll say it's probably the combined effects on the body and nervous system of doing Titti B, C, and Pincha Mayurasana in succession), but I'm totally winded when I go into the finishing backbends. And the thing about being so totally spent is that there is much less space for vrittis to come up. Which means that one gets to access the vritti deadzone in a more immediate and visceral manner.

This, at least, is my two cents' on how vritti deadzones work in the practice. None of this is based on anything that's in the Yoga Sutras or any yoga texts; just my personal interpretation.I also have this theory that for most of us, the practice gives us this daily space in which to kind of reset our "vritti settings": You do your practice, get in touch with your vritti deadzone, and then you go out into the world, and your mind becomes assailed by vrittis of all kinds from all sorts of directions. And then you practice again tomorrow morning, and get into the vritti deadzone/vritti clearinghouse again. So in this way, doing the practice daily is kind of like cleaning up your computer's internet cache; just as your computer's performance slows down if it has too much stuff in its cache, your mind/body's performance also slows down and becomes less effective if it has too much vritti residue clogging it up. Just a thought. Again, none of this is based on any yoga theory or whatnot.


In other news: My recent post on Learning, Struggle, and Ashtanga Yoga has been reposted as a guest post on the Connectedtrips Website. Feel free to check it out.

Connectedtrips recently approached me and invited me to guest-blog on their site, and I agreed. So I guess I will be writing things on their blog from time to time from now on. I'll still be doing most of my blogging on this blog, so I don't think this is really going to change anything, as far as Yoga in the Dragon's Den is concerned. This is basically just one more avenue through which the world can to come to know about and bear witness to the glorious greatness of Ashtanga Fundamentalism :-)

Since the folks at Connectedtrips have been so kind to reach out to me in this way, giving me this wonderful opportunity to further spread the gospel of Ashtanga Fundamentalism, I'll return the favor and tell you a couple of things about them. Connectedtrips is a new global travel website that promotes yoga, meditation, nutrition, exercise and healing courses, centers, teachers, retreats and holidays. You can think of it as a sort of one-stop-shop where people who are interested in yoga and holistic living and all that good stuff can search, find, and book retreats and workshops around the world that fit their purposes and interests. Kind of like a for yoga and holistic living people, if you will.

End of promo. But seriously, do check them out, if it strikes you as something you might find useful. There is also a link to them on the right-hand side of this blog. More later. 


  1. Dear Nobel, first of all, why on why it is (almost) always like that? 'that' means I have to read 1-2-3 more texts in English than 1 of yours ;-)
    "vritti deadzone" is great. thank you for sharing!!!

    1. Thanks. Well, if this makes things better for you, I think most of whatever I post over there will be re-posts of what I post here :-)

    2. I give up :-) but keep reading of course :-)