BY JESSICA GUINN 

Pratyahara, one of the limbs of yoga, means withdrawal from the senses. As a mother with small children, I have renewed appreciation for how necessary and revitalizing it is to have the chance to withdraw, reset, and reconnect. Life right now is chaos – beautiful and natural, but chaos nonetheless.

Jessica and her kids reconnect in nature
kids resetting with a nap
Jessica and kids take a moment
When I get the opportunity to come to Bikram Yoga San Jose, to stand on my mat, in the room, for a whole 90 minutes, it is a blessing and a salve. The pieces of my mind that have scattered with the millionth “Mama!!!” or the hundredth time I’ve been poked, kicked, prodded (solely in the past hour) are nudged back into place. Beginning with my first deep breath in Pranayama, I am put back together, made whole once again, renewed. 

For many of us, whether it is due to small children, the late-night text from work, the relentless messages on our iWatches, TV binge-watching, or doom-scrolling on Facebook (pick your poison), life is on sensory overload. We are inundated with mental, physical, and emotional information, practically non-stop, and it is not healthy. Our human bodies were not designed for this, and our human souls are suffering.

Although we may not have the luxury to escape the stressors in our lives, we are lucky enough to have tools to help us build our resilience to manage them. We can intentionally cultivate our ability to ‘check’ our sensory overload.

Reset and reconnect with Savasana

Resetting and reconnecting with savasana

In class, savasana is one of the best opportunities to practice pratyahara. As you lay down with heels together, feet falling open, palms facing up, eyes open, your senses can turn inwards and withdraw from action. In every class, you have 23 invitations to relax and recharge.

Moreover, our studio environment is intelligently designed to direct your senses. We have bright lights, non-stop verbal directions coming from the teacher, heat penetrating your pores, and our floor-to-ceiling mirrors. Those mirrors reflect back to you everything you are thinking. In many ways, this is not pratyahara. And yet, it nurtures the essence of pratyahara – overwhelming the senses to break their power over our minds – learning how to take in external stimulation while maintaining balance.

And so, we invite you to come to BYSJ. Practice. Withdraw from your senses, from the outer world, and reconnect with your inner world. What does it feel like to be in your brain, your heart, and your body? What is it you need to be reminded of today?