Discover an Enhanced Massage With the 5th Limb of Yoga.
How can you enhance your Massage with the 5th Limb of Yoga?
Have you ever gotten a massage and talked the entire time? Or worse yet, your therapist was the one doing the talking? While some people unwind and destress in their own ways, this to me is counterintuitive. Your massage session is your time to relax, so talking the whole time can take away from that.
One thing you can try during your next massage is turning your attention inward or withdrawing your senses. In Sanskrit, this is called Pratyahara. (Click here to see Ananda.org’s The Yogic Encyclopedia definition)
An ancient text on yoga is Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Patanjali describes yoga as an eight limbed path that contains eight disciplines on how to live a purposeful and meaningful life. They serve as a recipe for ethical and moral conduct as well as self discipline. It is believed that the practitioner is able to experience the true self and achieve an enlightened state of consciousness.
Here are the eight limbs of yoga according to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras:
1. Yamas – Five social observances: ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truthfulness), asteysa (non-stealing), brachmacharya (chastity), and aparigraha (non-possessiveness).
2. Niyamas – Five moral observances: saucha (purity), santosha (commitment), tapas (self-discipline), svadhyaya (self-study) and ishvarapranidhana (devotion or surrender)
3. Asana – Yoga Postures
4. Pranayama – Breathing techniques that can reduce stress and improve physical and mental health
5. Pratyahara – Withdrawal of the senses. Disengaging your mind from external distractions and controlling how you react to them. Your five sense organs still observe external stimulation, but you’re not allowing them to disturb your state of mind.
6. Dharana – Concentration
7. Dhyana – Meditation
8. Samadhi – Enlightenment or Bliss.
These eight limbs offer an organized approach to calming the mind and finding salvation from suffering. Since each limb builds on the one before it, pratyahara is considered to be an important preliminary step in meditation. By drawing the attention inward, pratyahara reduces disturbances in the mind enabling the peace of mind required for concentration and a truly meditative state.
Practicing this approach during your massage can result in a deeper level of relaxation and allows you to enjoy the benefits massage brings.