Happy Mindful, snowy Monday, darling ones!
We’ve swiftly arrived at our fifth yogic limb: pratyahara.
Our conscious breathing -pranayama- sets the stage for Pratayhara, where we transcend sensory stimulation and draw focus inward. We stay fully aware of the five senses, but we observe objectively and therefore the mind can rest. We stop living off the things that stimulate; we dispassionately observe the cycle of stimulation and reaction and are no longer a slave to the senses. No longer functioning in their usual manner, the senses become extraordinarily sharp.
This is a stage of yoga practice just beyond the physical where internal yoga practice begins. Practicing pratyahara takes place when your individual consciousness is turned inward so you can master the flow of prana, or energy, in your body. Specifically, pratyahara is the withdrawing yourself away from anything unwholesome, excessive, or distracting for the mind.
Unfortunately, most of us don’t have the ability to withdraw into seclusion in the mountains to meditate without distractions. It is so much easier to harmonize with prana when you can renounce the distractions of the world to focus on controlling the senses!
However, in our reality, we have temptations of money, sex, fame, gossip, overindulgence in food, shopping, alcohol, etc. If you can overcome the temptations here and now then you have really mastered your senses.
Concentration, in the yoga room or the boardroom, begins as a battle with the distracting senses. In mastering pratyahara, you no longer unnecessarily respond to the itch on your nose or hear the baby crying in the restaurant. You are able to fix your focus on your main objective.
According to Patanjali, the eight limbs work together: The first five steps — yama, niyama asana, pranayama, and pratyahara — are the preliminaries of building the foundation for a spiritual life. They are concerned with the body and the brain. The last three, which we will cover in subsequent posts, are concerned with reconditioning the mind.
So it becomes clearer that yoga is nothing more than a process which enables us to stop and look at the habits of our own minds; only in this way can we understand the nature of happiness and unhappiness, and thus transcend them both.
Yoga provides an opportunity to ultimately attain enlightenment or the full realization of oneness with Spirit.
Have a great week, friends!!!