“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” –Helen Keller
Weekly Focus: Pratyahara // Sense Withdrawal (eliminating distraction)
Pratyahara is sense withdrawal and the fifth limb of the 8-limb path.
Prati (against, away); ahara (anything taken in from the outside)
One of the goals of pratyhara is to eliminate distraction, creating a more clear and focused path for meditation, observation and thought. When we cut our senses off from the external world, we are able to dive within ourselves to the vast universe that lies inside. Each time we sit with ourselves and curiously inquire within, we combat the harmfulness of constant externalization of the mind via social media, the news, and consumerism. This also gives us space to consider what we are taking in through our senses, and whether or not that “ahara” is beneficial. You might relate this to the food you choose to eat, the media you consume, the relationships you nurture, and beyond.
Here are a few ways to practice pratyhara at home:
- turn off your phone for 3-5 hours
- eat a meal without distraction, no conversation, no tv, no phone
- drive to work in silence
- sitting in quiet reflection in place of watching tv/scrolling your phone
- only spend money on necessities this week, avoid impulse purchases
All Classes: Sensory Deprivation
Throughout the week, you may experience classes reducing elements of distraction or activity during all or portions of the practice. The idea to possibly practice without music, use an eye pillow during savasana, or meditate in darkness is to help you bring more awareness, presence and focus to your personal practice and the subtleties or your Self.
Here are a few ways to add pratyhara into your personal practice:
- practice simple yoga postures with your eyes closed
- meditate in the darkest room available to you
- avoid lighting candles or incense while you practice
- practice in a room where you can shut the door, eliminating sounds from elsewhere in the home or interruptions from pets/family
- practice without music