“Yogash chitta-vritti-nirodah. Restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is yoga.” -Yoga Sutras I:2
This sutra, the second in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, essentially means that yoga is realized when identification with the fluctuations of the mind ceases. When we can get away from the constant ups and downs of our mental state and find some constancy of mind, we are realizing yoga. We cultivate the calm, steady and unchanging true self within each of us rather than being pulled in a million directions by every little thing that happens in our lives. This sutra is the practice of yoga and the goal of yoga. It is a practice of knowing your true self and identifying with that rather than the emotional ups and downs we feel from the things that we experience.
In the commentary on this sutra by Sri Swami Satchidananda, he writes, “If you control your mind, you have controlled everything. Then there is nothing in this world to bind you.”