Since the beginning of time, humans and animals alike hibernate during the winter months. We stock our pantries, gather wood for a season of fires, and usually find ourselves curling up on the couch, more than usual. During this time, we can utilize power in the practice of withdrawing and learn how to cultivate a better sense of Self through the internal awareness we experience during the cold season.
One of the eight limbs of yoga is called Pratyahara. Prati is a preposition meaning “against” or “away.” Pratyahara literally means “control of ahara,” or “gaining mastery over external influences.” The eight limbs of yoga are eight important practices within the yogic tradition. It describes a part of the yoga practice in which you relate to your senses, and the awareness found within each of them. The concept of this developed through the withdrawing of senses. For example, closing your eyes during an asana practice and feeling the posture rather than worrying about the alignment or what you look like in the mirror. This helps us to develop a stronger sense of the internal Self and our intuitive voice within. In turn, we rely on our internal state to determine the way we feel instead of our external circumstances.
The opportunity within the practice of Pratyahara is to intregrate the wisdom cultivated through silence of the senses and draw focus from the energy within.