Day 8: Going even deeper – hang on!

PRATYAHARA – ‘Withdrawl of the senses’ 

I warned you yesterday the first half of the 8 limbs were slightly easier to get your head around. Today we dive a little deeper with the 5th limb, so especially if you are quite new to the practice just take what you need and try what you can.

Note that when I first started practicing I was so focused on:

  1. Not falling flat on my face; and
  2. Thinking how on earth people found a cross legged position at all comfy.

The idea of meditating and withdrawing from the senses (that were seemingly supporting my balance and holding me upright) seemed flipping crazy. But it comes, I promise. This stage encourages us to draw our awareness away from the external world and its stimuli: the sounds; the sights; the smells. Sit still, notice them but allow them to pass without attachment, reaction or engagement. This can be a simple exercise that you try for 2 or 3 minutes at first. Then maybe you can sit for longer, and longer – until you aren’t thinking about the time and duration.

We withdraw so we can start to look inwards. We are providing a clearer view of our cravings and habits. Cravings and habits that may be detrimental to our wellbeing or may be steering us off our path. Now in a world where we are constantly stimulated making time for this practice is gold, pure gold. This might be what saves you from living a life absent of passion and purpose, from going stir crazy or burning out.

Unfortunately I think that we are beyond the distraction of sounds, sights or smells. I think today those stimuli are blocked by even more stimuli. What we need to detach ourself from are the constant notifications, the pull of our emails, societies expectations, the chase, the stereotypes and the comparisons.

Does that make sense?

I don’t have the answer, nor do I want to come across preachy. But what I would suggest is you find some time in your daily life (or a couple of times a week) to be in silence. That might be yoga, but it might also be baking, it might be walking, it might be running. What ever you like. I would advise you try and do it without a phone or the stimulation of music, and let your self just be and notice what comes up. Without too much attachment on what you are doing and wether its right or how long you are able to stand the silence.

Another one for you to try. Maybe forward this email onto someone whose life is overwhelmingly loud right now and lacking in the luxury of silence.

Remember to let me know if these are helpful or if there is anything else you would like to know as we move through the month together.

Jess x

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