Pratyahara

Posted By Mimi on May 10, 2012 in O2 Yoga Blog |


I have spent the past two days traveling on a refurbished school bus with my sons, Dylan and Deven, our friends the Halldorsons (Facebook.com/the unschoolbus), making a total of 3 adults, 4 kids, and 3 dogs. We are heading to a conference in North Carolina called ARGH. Yes, like the pirates. It stands for autodidactic radical gathering of homeschoolers. Intrigued?

Integrity
It appears on the surface, to some, that my personal and professional lives are quite different. Actually, it is the complete opposite. I believe strongly in integrity. This means that my moral and ethical belief systems are integrated into everything that I do and say. The way I teach yoga, run my business, interact with students and people who work for me, interact with family and friends, and interact with the world at large should be, and I hope are, consistent.

Travel
Traveling both opens and narrows my field of vision. In yoga, we often talk about the importance of pratyahara (sence withdrawal). This seems to imply the shutting down of the senses. I actually think it is the opposite. When I am traveling, my senses are heightened. Not in a overwhelming way, it feels more like a clarity. I am less distracted by minutiae and more tuned in to colors, smells, tastes and experiences as a whole. Opening up myself to new experiences makes me see things more clearly.

Awareness
Of course traveling on a bus makes for heightened awareness of space, resources such as water, fuel, food, comfort, and stuff. When living in a small space with lots of people and animals I become so much more aware of what I and my family really need. I mean really need. I have traveled quite a bit but still bring too much stuff. I still clearly don’t have a handle on the difference between need and want but I will keep in trying.

Reality?
As for ARGH, this is a gathering of families who have decided to spend more time traveling, hanging out with family and friends especially but not exclusively their own kids, and enjoying unstructured time. There will be presentations, talks, activities, games, potlucks, dancing, music and general camping fun. However, at least for us, this is a time to step out of what feels like the only reality.

Clutter
My father would often say to me that I would need to stop having fun and enjoying my life soon in order to be an adult. He spent his whole life waiting to retire and working himself to death. If that is the only reality for an adult than I don’t want to be one. Luckily that is not the only reality. As the Buddhists say, there is no true reality, only your perception based on your history. Yoga practice, meditation, and I think traveling are all tools in clearing away all the clutter in your mind and body maybe, hopefully, clearing the view for a new and better reality.

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