Pratyahara - The Return To Self
by Pam Leber- CYI, RYT
For many people, the asana practice is the first conscious step on the path of yoga. But, yoga is not just a physical practice. There are many aspects of our being and the eight limbs of yoga are designed to allow us to uncover our wholeness in all of these areas. Yoga heals on many levels. This healing is never about addition; it is always about subtraction. Pratyahara is the fifth limb of the eight limbs of yoga. Pratyahara means drawing back or retreating: “the withdrawal of the senses from the attachment to external objects.” When the senses are no longer tied to the external world the result is interiorization. By allowing our vital forces to flow back to their source within, without the interference or draw of the extremal world, we are able to connect with our intuition, our deepest self. This allows us to access our inner wisdom, that aspect that knows what we need to reveal our radiant health.
Putting Pratyahara Into Practice
Just as the intelligence or instinct in an animal directs its actions an tells it where to go to find food and shelter, the same quality, more highly developed, makes a conscious appearance in us in the form of our intuition. As instinct guides the animal, so does intuition guide us, if we allow it. By pausing throughout our day, in the midst of our daily life, and drawing our senses inward to connect within for guidance, we can begin to develop the practice of Pratyahara and to trust and cultivate the power of infinite possibility through the Divine Guidance of our intuition.
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