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pratyahara (total relaxation)
Relaxing the physical body
This limb is crucial. This teaches you about the brakes of your body vehicle. If you get your body into a reasonably perfect state for further development in your life, and you go out to achieve what you want, what good is it if you cannot stop at will?
In other words, would you drive a car, if you couldn’t make it stop?
Burn out, stress, fatigue, disease; tension, etc are all buzz-words of our time. Why? Because we don’t know how to stop; so we end up driving into a metaphorical brick wall – causing stress or trouble to our mind and body. If we could just learn to slow down, or even stop once in a while, “accidents” could well be avoided.
Life is busy, but 10-15 minutes a day of relaxation would wipe away any accumulation of stress on the system, thus, everyday begins in peace and it takes longer for you to reach your threshold of stress.
This limb teaches you to mentally withdraw energy from the senses and the mind, and to place it back within the soul temporarily. In that time, the body gets unprecedented rest (the same as dreamless sleep) – but self-induced, with complete mental conscious awareness of where you are and what you are doing.