March 1, 2010

Living My Yoga: Pratyahara. ~Peg Mulqueen

I had forgotten about that bulb I’d received at Christmas.  The instructions said after planting, I should tuck it away someplace cold and dark for a month—bringing it into the light after its month-long hibernation.

In my house, we have an old-style pantry, built right into the wall. (I think, back in the day, it was meant to be a liquor cabinet.  However, we use it to store just about everything from tools to extra boxes of cereal to bulbs that need darkness!)

So there I was, rummaging to find an extra box of weetabix for my morning ritual … and there i found my bulb. Only it wasn’t just a bulb anymore. It had sprouted a stem about 8 inches long.

How did this happen in such a cold, dark place?

Pratyahara is the fifth stage of ashtanga yoga and offers us the opportunity to turn inward, to quiet all our senses so that we might not be disturbed by sight nor sound. In detaching from the sensory world, we find a spiritual energy.

A blossoming, one might say.

I asked my class last night how many had allowed the snow and the cold to break their normal routines. How many had even been kept from their yoga mat and hunkered down at home.

The hands sheepishly raised.

It’s okay, though. That’s what was to be.  There are times we need to withdraw—and should not be so hard on ourselves for answering that call.  We must remember, those times we sit still in darkness … those times we tuck ourselves away from the outside world … those times we allow ourselves just to “be” … we are simply granting our very essence a chance to renew.

Our minds fool us and taunt us for being stagnant. But it is our minds that are the fools.

Powerful growth occurs beneath the surface. A deep energy is cultivated and then begins to grow upward. When you emerge, you are strongly rooted and ready to blossom upward … toward the light.

Click here to visit Peg’s blog.

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