Last week, we introduced Pratyahara — the 5th limb of yoga. But, how is it practiced?
Pratyahara is mostly still a physical practice. You could simply remove/bind the sense or allow it to slowly float into disappearance. Some of the senses are harder to “bind” but you can feel the enhancement, or the diminishing effects, by binding another sense instead. Here are a few practices for each of the senses you can try to incorporate into your daily life.
Close your eyes while listening to music.
Close your eyes or let your focus turn inward during a yoga practice.
Put on noise canceling headphones while moving organically/dancing.
Mute a TV show or movie without subtitles.
Closing your eyes while you eat.
Light a scented candle while eating something with an opposite smell.
Plug your nose while you eat a piece of chocolate or sweets.
Close your eyes while eating.
Grab a touch and feel book or some interesting fabrics. Close your eyes while you feel each one slowly.
Mindfully eat something crunchy followed by something smooth.
With all of these, be curious. What do you notice? What is enhanced? What feels muted? Are there things you didn’t notice before? What emotions arise in you? What thoughts seem to float away?
Pratyahara is a simple practice you can incorporate into bits of your day. There is no right or wrong in what you experience, it’s about bringing awareness to the experience itself.