By Clare Newman, Program Director of Mamata Yoga
*Stay tuned over the next several weeks as we continue to explore the 8 Limbs of Yoga. If you missed last week, we explored pranayama*
5. Pratyahara (Withdrawal from the Senses)
The practice of withdrawing ones’ attention from the senses takes a tremendous amount of practice, patience and dedication – as in the role of a mother. The focus in motherhood needs not to master the art of withdrawing from the sense and spending hours each day practicing the control over the scattering of vital energy, but rather by simply focusing on a single point in the body. The easiest and more subtle practices towards pratyahara a new mother could incorporate into her hectic schedule is to bring the awareness to the breath and to focus on one of the five senses at a time, until the mind becomes restless and quiets. The withdrawal for new mothers is anything that is unwholesome or negative. Thoughts, concerns or insecurities in regards to caring for baby or the negative perceptions from others. By focusing on the breath, a single point or even using a visualization technique, will help clear the mental field of external impression. and create a positive inner impression. Remember that to trusting the innate wisdom that we do not have the ability to limit, control or influence “sensory input” but rather we can deflect negative input from others. Spending just minutes a day on bringing positive awareness “inwards” and calming the fluctuations of the mind, is the first step towards a blissful meditation practice.