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07 February 2007

Pratyahara

Withdrawal of the senses.

One of the 8 limbs of Ashtanga Yoga. A haven of silence. An opportunity to tune out world noise and tune in to one's self.

Patanjali wrote in the Yoga Sutras about a system of practices that ultimately lead us to an enlightened state, or in modern terms, to our maximum potential of integrated body, mind and soul. Pratyahara, one of the steps in this system is more than a practice in stillness, it is a practice in creating a "space" between ourselves and our outer world.

Savasana, or corpse pose, is a good example of how we may systematically allow our mind and bodies to tune inward and release from the attachments to our daily being. When we allow the body to completely relax and the mind to become still, we open opportunity to receive a beautiful and amazing gift. That of silence. During this time we are fully able to release "energetic" matter from our systems and replenish in the fresh energy we inhale mindfully.

Be mindful that what Pratyahara is not is an avoidance or withdrawal from life and our daily duties. Rather, it is a beautiful practice to enhance our ability to be connected and engaged with our outer world.

Pratyahara can be practiced anywhere, at anytime and eventually becomes a continuous state in which we function. We maintain engagement with our surroundings while creating our very own personal sound barrier. Follow these simple steps to reap the benefits of a mini vacation for your senses. Wherever you are, either seated, standing or lying down, bring your attention to your breath and imagine yourself detaching from your outer world. Bring your mind's eye to your physical body and watch it energetically release from its emotional or tensed state. Breath in to the energetic space surrounding your body and imagine it dissolving of excess sounds, thoughts, matter or vibrations. Enjoy two or three rounds of 5 breaths here and simply stay mindfull of where you are - your physical surroundings. A daily practice in Pratyahara contributes to lifelong enjoyment of a balanced, at ease, emotionally healthy state of mind.

Read more on Pratyahara in this article from Yoga Journal.

Enjoy a day in stillness, amid the chatter.

In a beautiful haven of silence,
Corinne
xo

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