This entry was posted on September 7, 2020.
When I used to be in faculty, my roommates and I listened to music continuous. We studied with Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell and we cleaned up the Rolling Stones' home. We celebrated with Steely Dan, Little Feat and plenty of different incredible bands from the 60s and 70s. The stereo was solely turned off once we slept. After I left faculty and received married, the sample was related, solely we moved in direction of continuous Grateful Dead live performance tapes and all of the thrilling new music from the bluegrass / newgrass world.
I began training yoga in early 1982. I left my first grade in an altered state – a sense of peace and ease that I had by no means skilled earlier than. When I turned on my automobile, loud rock music boomed from the stereo. I turned it off instantly. It felt wildly incongruent with the state I used to be in. When I received dwelling we heard a Beethoven symphony.
In the years that adopted, I nonetheless listened to a variety of music, attended dozens of Grateful Dead concert events, and attended many different concert events as nicely. But I discovered that I additionally loved durations of silence. In 1988, after attending my first silent mindfulness meditation retreat, I longed for quiet time. Music was not wanted as background noise; It was one thing I heard once I was capable of give it my full consideration.
The want for silence was the direct results of starting to show inward by means of yoga and meditation. Instead of eager for distraction, I out of the blue felt at dwelling in silence. It was an expression of Pratyahara, the fifth limb of yoga.
Pratyahara: Letting go of the necessity for that means
Pratyahara is the fifth limb of yoga. It lies between pranayama (respiration workout routines) and dharana (focus workout routines). It is commonly outlined as "retirement of the senses" or "withdrawal from the senses". These definitions can generally appear a bit strict, as if we have been depriving ourselves of sensual pleasure. And possibly that's true in some instances. My scholar himself was not so snug with silence; I wanted a distraction then, or not less than I believed so.
I favor to consider Pratyahara as freedom from the habit to sensory stimulation. Pratyahara doesn’t really feel deprived. Instead, Pratyahara finds satisfaction within the refined. It turns our consciousness and intention inward in order that we are able to start to understand the extra refined panorama of our physique and thoughts.
How Pratyahara Promotes Meditation
I as soon as heard the writer and meditation trainer Sylvia Boorstein say: "We are all sensational junkies." I’ve to agree. Think about it. While elevator music has develop into a punch line of types, it's an actual factor. After all, we don't wish to spend 30 seconds in an elevator with out dialog. Even some fuel stations play the radio on the pump to guard us from pumping fuel silently.
Many yoga lessons are choreographed to music. There's a spot for that. Music will help create a way of group and preserve a category shifting. These sooner lessons, accompanied by music, have a distinct objective than a silent yoga class. You focus extra on asanas and that’s completely applicable for a lot of yoga practitioners.
However, a extra meditative fashion of yoga requires an interior focus. Teaching with out music permits us to extra simply tune into the felt expertise of our asana follow. Free from exterior distraction, our interior expertise involves the fore. This is the place Pratyahara is available in.
This begins to cut back the necessity for sensory stimulation. We start to benefit from the silence. But our yoga / meditation atmosphere isn't at all times as free from distraction as we'd like. Here, too, Pratyahara will help. If we develop into extra firmly established in Pratyahara, we will probably be a lot much less disturbed or unbalanced by undesirable sensory experiences.
For instance, within the 1990s, I took half in 4 30-day silent retreats. On the 1996 retreat, a cabin was constructed a number of doorways away from the retreat heart. The retreat heart is at 8,700 toes; Sound strikes very effectively within the diluted air. All day lengthy, energy instruments, copious swearing, and heavy steel music reduce our silence. The sensory stimulation was fixed, however my thoughts was by no means drawn to it. Since we have been centered on shifting inward, the continuous sound didn't really feel like a distraction. It was simply a part of the panorama of our bodily / psychological expertise, as was the breath and all the opposite physique sensations that got here and went.
Pratyahara units the stage for the final three limbs of yoga. These limbs, dharana (focus), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi, are thought-about to be the center of yoga. In Pratyahara we flip a nook, from the surface in. However, training Pratyahara doesn’t imply that we can not get pleasure from sensual pleasures. (I nonetheless get pleasure from listening to Live Dead on the Sirius XM Grateful Dead channel once I'm working errands, and I’ve little extra enjoyable than taking part in on the Salt Lake Symphony.) But with Pratyahara in-built, we not should be entertained . Instead, we are able to discover a dwelling inside ourselves.