Beth, our yoga instructor, took a dry erase marker and wrote a word I’d never seen before on the board: citta.

“Citta. Anyone know what it means?” she asked. She pronounced the word chitta.

I was attending an all-day fertility yoga workshop, and there were about ten of us sitting in a circle. Women began guessing:




“Um, it’s kind of a negative thing,” Beth hinted.

I made no guesses. I was stumped.

“Citta. Chatter. The stuff that goes on in our heads,” Beth said. “We have so much of it. A lot of it is about how we want things to happen.”

All of us sitting there wanted a baby.

“There are so many miraculous way to have children now,” Beth continued. “Citta closes down those possibilities. And it takes us out of the present moment. Too much citta projects patterns onto our future.”

I felt like she was talking directly to me. The mindless chatter in my brain can be extremely limiting. It goes something like this: I want to have a baby using my egg and my husband’s sperm. I don’t want to use donor eggs or donor sperm. I don’t want to use a surrogate. I don’t want to take fertility drugs. I don’t want to adopt. I want to be pregnant with a biological child within the next year. But I don’t want to have to do too many more holistic treatments because they’re expensive, and on and on and on…

Of course whether to use a donor egg or a surrogate or to adopt are huge emotional decisions — and they deserve mindful consideration — but I knew it was also important to examine what I was thinking and not just let citta clutter up my ability to make good decisions.

Beth encouraged all of us to start observing our citta. The goal was not to turn our negative thoughts into positive thoughts. But simply to become more self-aware. To allow us to let go of the future and be present in the moment.

What is the citta that goes on in your mind? Have you seen your mind shift after recognizing the conditions and limitations you place on yourself?

About Jenny Rough

Jenny Rough is a lawyer-turned-writer. Visit her on the web at

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