Fifth Limb of 8-Fold Path -Pratyahara by Lena Schmidt

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The fifth limb of the eight-fold path is the Pratyahara. Pratyahara is the withdrawal of the senses.

We can practice Pratyahara in yoga by:

* Becoming aware of how the senses inhibit, enhance, or have no bearing on the yoga practice
* Becoming curious about your sense experiences throughout practice and releasing attachments so as to turn within
* Redirecting the mind away from sensory distractions to focus on intention or breath (life continues on around you—there may be a siren outside or voices in the lobby—and still you maintain steady focus)

We can practice Pratyahara in life by:
* Becoming aware of what you see, smell, taste, hear, and/or feel at a particular moment
* Practicing letting go of sensory distractions (car alarms, lawn mowers, birds chirping) and turning more deeply within yourself
* Redirecting the mind to focus on intention or the task at hand
* Meditating

Practice tips: Pratyahara does not mean you are unaware of your surroundings or ignoring important sense cues. In the practice of pratyahara, the practitioner is aware of all five senses (sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing) but not fixated on any particular one. Yoga teacher Karson McGinley suggests considering your senses as five horses at the head of a chariot. You are the charioteer! Withdrawing the senses is the practice of wrangling and corralling the horses to turn inward.


 
 

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