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I hope you all had a great weekend! Over the past week, I have been reflecting on (and you may have heard me mention in class) the importance of withdrawing our senses or turning inward, known in the Yoga Sutras as Pratyahara. Even though our lives may have slowed down since the start of the pandemic, we are still being stimulated by our five senses. It is important to take time throughout our day, even if you only have a few minutes, to withdraw from the external world in order to find a sense of peace and calm in the body and mind.
Withdrawal of the senses from external objects quiets the mind and enables mastery over sensory experiences.
Pratyahara empowers one to stop being controlled by the external world, fetch one’s attention to seek self-knowledge, and experience the freedom innate in one’s inner world.
The practice of Pratyahara is especially important if we are stimulated by constant negativity such as listening to the news, stress from work, or even habits. The practice of going inward gives you time to reflect on your experiences with a sense of clarity and peace. It also gives us the opportunity to connect more deeply with the Divine within and reminds us to keep moving towards what truly makes us happy.
Through the practice of Pratyahara, I have begun to realize how deeply I am affected by social media. Although much of it brings joy such as seeing pictures of friends, being inspired by a recipe, or a brillant organizational tip, there are many posts that make me feel sad or affect me in a negative way……not to mention the amount of time spent getting lost in the scrolling that I will never get back. I have decided to delete the app (which will remain nameless) and try to use time in a more positive way that I know will most always bring me joy.
How To Practice Pratyahara:
The practice of Pratyahara can be as simple as closing your eyes, turning off all your senses and just being still.
Looking for More Information on the Sutras?
If you would like to read more about the Yoga Sutras including Pratyahara, I highly recommend True Yoga by Jennie Lee. In my opinion, many of the books written on the Sutras can be challenging to understand. This book explains the Sutras in a very relatable way that I think you will really enjoy.