Life would be so much happier and easier if we were free from distracting thoughts, worry, anxiety and anger, and if we felt calm, joyous, loving and peaceful. Yoga is a path that guides us toward the goal of mental and emotional harmony.
These are the fifth and sixth limbs of yoga:
Pratyahara – harmony with your emotions
Pratyahara teaches us to draw our awareness away from the external world and outside stimuli. We are aware of our surroundings but cultivate detachment and focus our attention internally. Pratyahara is an opportunity to step back and take a look at ourselves. The beauty of this practice is that by engaging with it in a variety of settings we strengthen our disciple. We are able to observe our cravings or habits that can be detrimental to our health and interfere with our inner growth.
Dharana – harmony with your thoughts
Attention leads to concentration (dharana). “In the practice of concentration, which precedes meditation, we learn how to slow down the thinking process by concentrating on a single mental object: a specific energetic center in the body, an image of a deity, or the silent repetition of a sound. We, of course, have already begun to develop our powers of concentration in the previous three stages of posture, breath control, and withdrawal of the senses.”
Next blog… the final two limbs of yoga!