The Monkey Mind

The room was still, teacher was giving instructions on the pose … I was holding in Virabdrasana II. Suddenly, I started to consider the options for lunch. Where did this come from?

Catching such moments is not a frequent occurrence but when they happen, I am amused by how my mind works. What a monkey mind.

Pratyahara practices aim to detach the mind from what’s going on and move inwards but how do I practice pratyahara when I could not even hold a pose for 1 minute without wandering off? And why practice it?

In the theory session on the last four limbs of yoga, Master Paalu stressed that we need to “break the pattern” through pratyahara. I wondered why but did not ask hence sought answers through the web.

Briefly, this was what was found. Senses are deceptive. When we turn inward, our awareness falls on the mind itself instead of the activities of perception and action. Bhagavad Gita explains, “Just as a tortoise withdraw its limbs, so when a man withdraws his senses from his sense objects, his wisdom becomes steady.” Consciousness becomes far more sensitive when it detaches itself from the senses.

Breath awareness, often used in pratyahara practices, is used to awaken the awareness of the movement of prana through the body. It is the link between external practices like asana and pranayama and internal ones like dharana and dhyana that lead to samadhi.

Looks like I will have to put more effort in the breathing exercises …

Patricia, February 2016