The fifth limb of Patañjali’s 8 Limbs of Yoga is pratyāhāra: the withdrawing of the senses, so that when we feel, hear, see, taste, and smell we let go of reacting. By abandoning the countless distractions of day-to-day life, the mind focuses inward and is free to move into mediation.
A Way to Practice Pratyāhāra
We live in an era of sensory overload, constantly bombarded with messages from the media, smart phones, the internet, and stressed-out friends and colleagues. Pratyāhāra encourages us to let go of all the distractions of life. It gives us the freedom not to take it all in. Try choosing one of the following pratyāhāra techniques and practice daily for one week. See if you feel calmer as a result.
- Reduce your social media time to 15-30 minutes a day.
- Ask everyone in your family to turn off and put away their cell phones during family meals.
- Leave your phone at home when you exercise or do yoga.
- Limit TV time to only 1 hour each day.
- Meditate for 20 minutes each morning.