Making An Effort to Calm Our Mind.

Yoga Philosophy – What I’ve learnt

I have always thought that Yoga was a slow and peaceful exercise to test your flexibility.
I first tried a yoga class with a friend in Oct 2019 and found myself weekly going back to the mat. I have always enjoyed the release of tensions in my body and calming the chaos inside my head after each lesson. Bringing the attention to myself and being aware of the present. This “being present” speaks about Pratyahara (Sense Withdrawal). Pratyahara is the fifth limb of the Eight Limbs Of Ashtanga/Raja Yoga.

  1. YAMA- DISAPPEARANCE OF ALL SUPPRESSIONS
  2. NIYAMA- FREEDOM FROM ALL OBSERVANCES
  3. ASANA- STEADY AND COMFORTABLE POSE
  4. PRANAYAMA- EXPANSION OF VITAL ENERGY, PRANA
  5. PRATYAHARA
    WITHDRAWAL OF THE SENSES FROM OBJECT AND SUBJECTS AND MOVING CONSCIOUSNESS INWARDS
  6. DHARANA
    MIND FIT FOR CONCENTRATION
  7. DHYANA MEDITATION
  8. SAMADHI SUPER-CONSCIOUS STATE

Practicing Pratyahara means to step back and examining ourselves. Withdrawing our senses to check our habits (eg. Simple things like slouching, not sleeping enough, over eating , drinking, smoking, focusing on the negative) that may be detrimental to our (mental) health and impeding our inner growth.

Sense withdrawal does not mean we switch off our senses but being present at the moment at hand, not worrying/anxious about the future, not easily distracted by the mind. Drawing the senses inward to bring attention to the inner world (ourselves) instead of expending energy exclusively on the outer world. For example, take our self-image, how we want to present ourselves to the world. How do I look? How do people see me? How do I want to be perceived? This kind of behavior exhausts a lot of our energy throughout the day. Being aware of how much attention we give the outer image and to reduce the energy wasted in creating it. Turn the focus inward we need to minimize outer disturbances/distractions, making an effort to calm our mind.

I wouldn’t say that I am completely good at being present and not distracted by the mind (or practicing Pratyahara) but I am still a work in progress. It is not an overnight recipe, it is a conscious effort and discipline to be better than yesterday.

Keep practising and don’t give up