Thursday, April 9, 2009


Pratyahara: the movement of consciousness into the central column; taking the focus inward...presence, where self connection becomes clear and strong.

Here, in the 5th limb of yoga, we cultivate a detachment from our senses by turning and tuning into ourselves. The idea being that this withdrawal from the external enables us to objectively observe how the senses might interfere with our growth, especially if they present negative cravings, actions or patterns.

I found a practice at Yoga Today for cultivating pratyahara and I wanted to share some of it here (I modified it for my own teaching style). I am always grateful when teachers incorporate the other limbs of yoga; it is something I practice in my own teaching as I try to avoid a concentration of asana--to me, it misrepresents the practice and conceals the ultimate purpose.

Begin by building the breath
Child's pose--Stretching the arms away to

Downward Dog
Inhale right leg up
~Bend the knee, drop
foot to the left opening the hip
~Inhale lengthen the leg, exhale release
Inhale left leg up
~Bend the knee, drop foot to the right opening the
~Inhale lengthen the leg, exhale release

Downward Dog
the right hand back for left ankle, breathe into the twist
Release and...
~Reach the left hand back for right ankle, breathe into the twist
to DD

Inhale right leg up, exhale step foot forward between hands, left
knee resting on mat
(Fingers can be pronged or hands flat, pressing chest
forward, lifting crown)
Focusing inward...
Hands to hip or clasping
behind back, still lifting crown to lengthen
Option to twist
With hands
framing front foot, turn back toes under and straighten the leg for Pyramid

REPEAT on the other side

3 Sun Salutations (A-variation)

Step right foot back building Triangle
Inhale up to standing, repeat
left side
Inhale up to standing, Revolve Triangle (right)
Inhale up to standing, Revolve Triangle (left)
Wide Angle Forward Fold
Step back to front of mat

Standing Half Moon (each side)
Flow to DD
Inhale right leg up
Exhale step forward into Crescent
Standing Split
Balancing Half Moon
Revolved Variation
Standing Split
Release to Plank
Knees down, lower to mat

Repeat above sequence on the other side
Option to replace
Cobra with Locust
Return to DD


Chair/Option to revolve
Flow to DD
Warrior I, II
Side Angle
Plank (hold for strength)
Repeat on the other side

Release to child's pose
(Inward Focus--Pratyahara)

Head to Knee

Boat (Core)

Come to back for
full body stretch


Yoga Nidra
~Cultivating presence, witnessing thoughts without feeding them, limiting
the investment that you place in thoughts by not following them. Practice peace,
awareness, letting go. Turn in--tune in.

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