Happy Monday! On this #MindfulnessMonday we are tackling the 5th limb of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. This 5th limb begins our journey into the last 4 of the Sutras, which differentiate from the first 4- Yama, Niyama, Asana and Pranayama, which are outward practices that we do- whereas the last 4 are inwards practices that we have to cultivate and sort of just let happen. However, it is through dedicated practice of the first 4 that we can delve into the last 4.
So, to begin, we have #5, Pratyahara, which is translated to isolation and withdrawal of the senses. The goal of this practice is to take us from the outward to the inward to truly discover the Self. And, when we say withdrawal of the senses it literally means to drop awareness of sight, smell, sound, touch and taste. This is certainly not an easy feat, but there are in fact some easy ways to begin to withdraw.
Firstly, a practice of Pratyahara begins with a practice of Pranayama. By focusing entirely on breath and clearing our mind, we can begin to detach from the outside world and come into our inner world. A second way to activate your Pratyahara is by focusing on our third eye, or our Ajna Chakra which is located in the center of our foreheads. The Ajna Chakra is considered the eye of intuition. By focusing in on our third eye, we begin to look inward and find the Self.
Of course, the practice of Pratyahara takes time and dedication, but when achieved can lead to intense relaxation, self-awareness and inner stability.