Sutra of the Month

Sutra 1.6 – pramāṇa viparyaya vikalpa nidrā smr̥tayaḥ

Yoga Sutra 1.6 helps us to look at our types of thoughts, also referred to as the five movements of the mind.

For October’s Sutra of the month, we will look at the following:

1. Translation of the Sanskrit;

2. Definitions of each type of thought or movement of the mind;

3. Practical, real-world discussion of how we can use Sutra 1.6 in our personal yoga & meditation practice and beyond into our everyday lives.



pramana = correct knowledge

viparyaya = error, misperception 

vikalpa = imagination

nidra = dreamless sleep

smrtayah = memory

Sutra 1.6

𝑹𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕 𝒌𝒏𝒐𝒘𝒍𝒆𝒅𝒈𝒆 or pramana

When our thought wave perceives what is factual. When an object comes into our senses, we see it for what it is. An example of this is when our skin is feeling heat when we walk by the stove and we notice the stove is on. The object, heat, touches our senses, touch, and a thought wave occurs that the heat is coming from the stove. This is 𝒓𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕 𝒌𝒏𝒐𝒘𝒍𝒆𝒅𝒈𝒆.

𝑰𝒏𝒄𝒐𝒓𝒓𝒆𝒄𝒕 𝒌𝒏𝒐𝒘𝒍𝒆𝒅𝒈𝒆 or viparyaya

When the thought wave is incorrect of what we are perceiving. An example of this is seeing a rope on the side walk when taking an evening stroll. Because it is dark, our thought wave perceives the rope to be a snake. This is 𝒊𝒏𝒄𝒐𝒓𝒓𝒆𝒄𝒕 𝒌𝒏𝒐𝒘𝒍𝒆𝒅𝒈𝒆.

𝑰𝒎𝒂𝒈𝒊𝒏𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏 or vikalpa

A thought wave that we create without us perceiving an object.

𝑫𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒎𝒍𝒆𝒔𝒔 𝒔𝒍𝒆𝒆𝒑 or nidra

When you are in deep relaxation and the mind is not active, therefore you have no dreams while you are asleep. This is too a thought wave because even though the mind is not active, you are still there, conscious, noticing that you are not dreaming.

𝑴𝒆𝒎𝒐𝒓𝒚 or smrtayah

any experience that you have had in your life that you bring about to the forefront of your consciousness. Patanjali refers to this memory in its pristine, original form. We often times can bring a memory up from childhood that was painful, but as an adult see it differently. This is not the type of memory that Patanjali is referring to. 
Sutra 1.6 In Practice
Please share your thoughts and reflections on Sutra 1.6 below!

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Ayako DeRuby

Ayako DeRuby


“Prior to my practice of Yoga & Meditation, I was often companioned by Anxiety, Insecurity and Fear. I would use all sorts of substances to give me a false sense of confidence, easy to blame people and situations for emotional disturbances, and felt like a hamster in a turning wheel with no real direction. Yoga & Meditation were the tools I used to face these narratives, helping me find my true self. As the dark night sky helps us see the light of the stars, I was able to now see the light of who I was against the dark narrative of this false self. My rock bottom became my springboard to my highest potential.

I believe that we all have been blessed to walk this earth to wake up to our true selves. We have the potential to reach for our dreams and to let go of the narrative that holds us back.. we all have a guru inside leading us to greatness. All we need to do is quiet the narrative long enough to hear and feel the light of pure awareness and pure love. This is what Yoga & Meditation can do for you.”