Practicing Pratyahara in Singapore

I moved to Singapore from a small city. I found myself overwhelmed by the bright lights, constant noise, familiar and unfamiliar smells, the perpetual sweat on my body, and the 5.5 million people I was now living amongst. Of course, I took pleasure in once again enjoying various tropical fruits that I had been deprived for the last several years, but that too overwhelmed my sense of taste. So in essence, all of my senses were overstimulated. I knew I needed to lessen the load on my senses in order to feel more at peace in my new home. My method for doing this was to retreat to the Botanic Gardens and sit in silence, surrounded by trees and pay attention to my breathing. I believe that a kind of pratyahara happens when we immerse ourselves in nature.
Pratyahara is the 5th limb of the 8 Limbs of Ashtanga Yoga. I understand pratyahara as a kind of bridge between the outer yoga of physical asana and the inner yoga of meditation. Outer yoga is a focus on the external world and inner yoga is a focus on consciousness. So therefore, we must turn our energy within for pratyahara. I believe that this practice is crucial not only for yoga, but also for right living in general because we live in such a fast paced, media driven world. I believe that in the modern world, many of us suffer from sensory overload. By turning our senses within, their vitality can be restored and we can start to open up higher levels of awareness within ourselves.
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