Pratyahara - The fifth limb of yoga
Turning our senses inward.
Is perhaps one of the most important limbs of yoga . When we are able to disconnect intentionally from the outer world we are given a gateway to our inner world. We pay attention to the sensations of the body and mind. We pay attention to the fluctuations of our mind and our being. Yoga gives us so many tools for transformation and connection to inner peace. While on the mat, when we engage our drishti, control our breath and focus on our asana practice such as alignment points and eventually engage the bandhas ( energy locks) - we are given the opportunity to transcend our third dimensional physical body and human experience and begin the process of becoming the observer of the mind. Finding a quiet place within. I can only speak from my own experience and perspective - for me pratyahara is the bridge, the real shift from outerly working on flexibility, strength and a body image to moving into the connection of the prana
(life force), the sensations within my body temple - which are so revealing and continuously guiding me deeper to a journey into the subtle body, hence providing an opportunity for true Soul awakening. Pratyahara connects us to a place of truth and authenticity with the good and the bad. Light and dark. The raw essence of who you are. Turning our hipper active senses from todays world of sensory overload - inward - the imagery here is a turtle withdrawing into it's shell. By withdrawing our awareness from loud noises, media of all sorts and kinds, television, internet, others in general including our monkey mind - pratyahara strengthens our powers. We find immunity to the reactive mind. It takes practice. The practice is the journey we commit to enter and live each day as yogis. Here we begin to bridge from the outer to the inner, much like the heart chakra; which is the bridge between the first three lower worldly / mundane vortexes/ chakras / and the higher much more subtle energies. The heart is truly magnificent. Through the heart we transcend in full realization that we are multidimensional spiritual beings having a human experience. You have now entered the yoga of awakening. Welcome. Next you will find steadiness and focus in dharana - following with meditation ( dhyana)  and finally the many various levels of samadhi - eternal bliss. Divinity. The yoga of awakening is not always an easy path, but I would not have it any other way. It is said ignorance can be a certain kind of bliss, but I choose my divine blue print - I choose satya ( truth) . If you are here with me in this moment I honor your light and your soul. May we have patience. May we walk the walk together with the many millions/ billions before and presently with us - we walk in grace and equanimity. Yoga teaches us that there is no separation and it gives us so many tools to do so. Each day we are presented with new growth opportunities - I trust that our challenges are exactly what we need to face - our fears, our limited beliefs and for new horizons. Creating expansion for our hearts and soul. Ultimately freedom. We are God, we are sovereign, we are free beings.
Nathalie Croix