The Eight Limbs of Yoga: Pratyahara

Yoga Sutra 2.55
“tatah parama vashyata indriyanam

Last month we explored the fourth limb: Pranayama. This month, we move on to the fifth limb: Pratyahara.

Pratyahara is the action of turning in, and simultaneously mastering the quieting of the mind. By reducing the reaction to the senses, we are able to clearly calm and slow down our thoughts, thus creating a pathway inward. This skill helps you redefine the mind’s patterns. Doing this work is incredibly potent, and extremely important, as we take steps to discovering our truest form of Happiness.

Now, it sounds simple, however because our mind is multifaceted and, for most of us, used to fast paced, high processing environments, sometimes slowing down the mind can become difficult, agitating, and limiting.

This is where Pranayama, last month’s limb, works in tandem with Pratyahara. Using the breath as an anchor, you can slow down the thoughts, connecting each thought to each inhale/exhale. Sticking to the breath, and concentrating on that, can be the gateway to truly letting go of the mind.

We will continue to make our way through the Eight Limbs of Yoga, as outlined by Sri Swami Satchidananda’s rendition of Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.  Our hope is to discuss ways to incorporate each limb into your day to day lives.

Have specific questions about The Eight Limbs of Yoga or Pratyahara? Comment below!

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